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    It is estimated that 2-4% of live births will have a birth defect (BD). The availability of biomarkers for the prenatal detection of BDs will facilitate early risk assessment, prompt medical intervention and ameliorating disease severity. miRNA expression levels are often found to be altered in many diseases. There is, thus, a growing interest in determining whether miRNAs, particularly extracellular miRNAs, can predict, diagnose, or monitor BDs. These miRNAs, typically encapsulated in exosomes, are released by cells (including those of the fetus and placenta) into the extracellular milieu, such as blood, urine, saliva and cerebrospinal fluid, thereby enabling interaction with target cells. Exosomal miRNAs are stable, protected from degradation, and retain functionality. The observation that placental and fetal miRNAs can be detected in maternal serum, provides a strong rationale for adopting miRNAs as noninvasive prenatal biomarkers for BDs. In this mini-review, we examine the current state of research involving the use of miRNAs as prognostic and diagnostic biomarkers for BD. Copyright© Bentham Science Publishers; For any queries, please email at


    Ratnam S Seelan, M Michele Pisano, Robert M Greene. MicroRNAs as Biomarkers for Birth Defects. MicroRNA (Shariqah, United Arab Emirates). 2022;11(1):2-11

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    PMID: 35168515

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