UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:54am
COLLEGE STATION -- The Texas A&M Health Science Center got $10,000 from the Department of State Health Services.
The money is to help Dr. Anne Sweeney research miscarriages in Bryan-College Station.
Sweeney hopes to find a correlation between trisomy 18 and the number of miscarriages in the area.
Many question if the El Dorado Chemical Company fire in July 2009 may have contributed to the cluster of babies born with the defect.
Nate Sharp, whose daughter was born with trisomy 18 said, "When you have a situation like this where all five families were affected at the same time, that's almost an impossibility that it happened by chance. It couldn't have been by chance. You can't call five cases in eight months a coincidence. We don't think it's just natural causes, we're convinced that something else is happening in the area."
Five babies were born between August 2009 and February 2010 who all had the defective chromosome.
Rae Lynn Mitchell, spokesperson for A&M School of Rural Public Health said, "Trisomy 18 is a chromosomal defect that is caused by one extra copy of the number 18 chromosome and it occurs in one in 3,000 live births so it's extremely rare that we would have had the number that we've had in this area during that time frame"
Most cases of trisomy 18 end in a miscarriage.
Sweeney will collect biological samples from the five families affected this week. The research should be completed this fall.