What is Genetic Testing?
Genetic Testing is a medical exam used to diagnose as well as measure a person’s likelihood of developing a genetic disease. Often using a sample of blood or saliva, genetic testing involves a close inspection of genes and alterations in DNA. Genetic tests are capable of identifying a variety of diseases including Fragile X Syndrome and Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
Patients who have a family history of a particular illness such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease may choose to take a genetic test to determine their chances of developing that disease. Those who test positive for an increased risk of a disease may consider a change of lifestyle. Something as simple as change in diet or exercise routine as a form of early action could greatly decrease the risks of developing a disease.
However, before deciding to take a genetic testing it is necessary to first consider the risks and benefits of genetic testing. While it is possible you may be able prevent a genetic disorder through lifestyle changes, you run the risk of learning that you may have inherited an incurable genetic disorder. While researchers are working hard to improve the accuracy of genetic testing, there is still a possibility of receiving false positives and negatives. There are many factors to take into consideration before undergoing genetic testing. Please consult with a genetic counselor or physician to learn more about the benefits and risks of genetic testing to determine if genetic testing is right for you.
“More than 1,000 genetic tests are currently in use”
Watch NBC's coverage on genetic testing: "Genetic Testing For Cancer: A Brave New World". NBC shares the stories of two women who have chosen to undergo genetic testing for breast cancer, a disease prevalent in their family medical history.
"genomic factors play a role in nine of the ten leading causes of death in the United States"-NHGRI
There are over 6,000 genetic disorders that can be passed down through the generations- GDF
"Each of the estimated 30,000 genes in the human genome makes an average of three proteins" -NHGRI