Molecular analysis of the RhD genotype in fetuses at risk for RhD hemolytic disease.

W C Spence
A Maddalena
D B Demers
D P Bick


The objective of this study was to evaluate the accuracy of a DNA-based testing methodology in determining the RhD genotypes of fetuses at risk for RhD hemolytic disease. We designed a multiplex polymerase chain reaction-based test based on recent RhD and RhCE sequence information. To improve the accuracy of the results, two different portions of the RhD gene were examined. Deoxyribonucleic acid was extracted from fetal specimens, portions of the RhD gene were amplified by the polymerase chain reaction, and the amplified product was run on a polyacrylamide gel to look for the presence or absence of the RhD gene. We tested 67 amniotic fluid and two chorionic villus specimens to determine the fetal RhD genotype in pregnancies at risk for RhD hemolytic disease. Forty-seven of the 69 specimens were determined to be Rh-positive, and 22 were Rh-negative. Fifty of the 69 fetal specimens--31 Rh-positive and 19 Rh-negative--were serotyped at birth. In all 50, there was complete correlation between the DNA analysis and the serotyping results. RhD gene analysis is a rapid and reliable method that provides an accurate fetal genotype to aid in the prenatal care of RhD-alloimmunized women.