The current state of molecular diagnosis of some common genetic diseases, including cystic fibrosis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, haemophilia A and B, phenylketonuria, and thalassaemia, in Russia and elsewhere in the former USSR is reviewed. Data on carrier detection and prenatal diagnosis are presented and some objective problems and obstacles hampering efficient molecular diagnosis in Russia are discussed. The necessity for molecular diagnosis of some other inherited diseases (for example, von Willebrand's disease, Martin-Bell syndrome, polycystic kidney disease, Huntington's disease, and myotonic dystrophy) is stressed. The need for establishing new diagnostic centres dealing with the most common diseases, as well as rare genetic diseases, is substantiated. Perspectives on the implementation of new molecular methods and new technical approaches (preimplantation embryo diagnosis, fetal cells selected from maternal blood) are briefly outlined.
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