Soon, pregnant women may not need to decide if pre-natal genetic testing is worth risking miscarriage: a new technique, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, involves using bits of fetal DNA in the mother's blood to count chromosomes. Errors in chromosome number are an indication of physical and mental development problems. Only a sample of the mother's blood is needed, while current prenatal gene tests, such as amniocentesis, require inserting a needle into the uterus and carry a .5 percent risk of miscarriage. In addition to increased safety, doctors hope that the new test — which could be available in clinics in the next 2-3 years — will spot genetic problems such as Down Syndrome much earlier. [EurekAlert]