A simple blood test could soon replace invasive and risky procedures to identify Down syndrome during pregnancy in many cases, researchers said Tuesday.

Traditionally, doctors use amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling to detect Down syndrome in pregnancy. Both tests carry about a 1 percent risk of miscarriage.

But in a study of 753 high risk pregnancies, researchers report in the British Medical Journal that a maternal blood test, which uses DNA sequencing, proved highly accurate at identifying 86 children who would be born with Down syndrome.

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What’s more, in no case did the blood test indicate that a child would not have Down syndrome only to be born with the chromosomal disorder.

Researchers say the new blood test could reduce the number of women in high risk pregnancies who are referred for more invasive tests by 98 percent.