Prenatal and adult presymptomatic testing for Huntington's disease

D. R. Turner, E. A. Haan, E. Jacka, R. S. Kalucy, R. J. Burns, J. O. Willoughby, R. Crabb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The discovery of a fragment of DNA that is linked closely to the Huntington's-disease autosomal locus offers the opportunity for the presymptomatic diagnosis of this dominantly-inherited neurodegenerative disorder. Presymptomatic testing will present individuals and society with difficult choices and responsibilities. A pilot adult presymptomatic test programme is under way for SA families. Presymptomatic testing requires intensive counselling both before and after the test. A form of prenatal test, which is applicable to a significant proportion of couples with one partner at risk of Huntington's disease, is available also. As this form of prenatal test does not change the risk status of the parent, less extensive counselling is required and testing is available nationally through the SA programme. It is anticipated that other states will develop their own diagnostic programmes in the near future. This article explains the basis for the test, its accuracy and the importance of obtaining DNA from key individuals in pedigrees of Huntington's disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-573
Number of pages7
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1988


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