Dna Genetic Testing

Genetic testing refers to tests that are done on blood and other body tissues to find genetic diseases or defects. Over 900 genetic tests are currently in existence and can be performed for a variety of purposes.

Genetic tests can be done on adults, children and even unborn babies. They can determine whether a baby will be born with a genetic disorder. In adults, they can determine whether a genetic disorder is present before symptoms are even seen.

Genetic testing can be beneficial for a number of reasons:

  • Patients can mentally prepare for a condition and can begin to treat it before it worsens.
  • Patients can find out whether they are at risk for passing genetic diseases onto their children.

Testing for genetic diseases are often performed if a person has a family history of a certain disease or is showing symptoms of a specific genetic disorder.

Genetic tests can be done using small samples of:

  • blood
  • bone
  • skin
  • other tissues.

The type of sample needed for a particular test will vary from test to test.

Types of Genetic Testing

While there are hundreds of different genetic tests available, the most common types of genetic tests include:

  • Carrier testing detects when people carry a genetic gene that can cause a disorder in the next generation.
  • Diagnostic testing detects a specific condition; usually performed when symptoms are present./li>
  • Forensic testing is used for legal purposes, such as establishing paternity or identifying a criminal suspect.
  • Newborn screening is used to detect certain conditions in newborns.
  • Predictive and pre-symptomatic testing is used to identify disorders that often take a while to exhibit symptoms.
  • Pre-implantation testing is used in cases of in-vitro and other types of fertilization to detect diseases in embryos before implantation.
  • Prenatal testing is used to detect disorders in unborn children.

Doctors use these tests in a variety of cases for early diagnosis, early treatment options and more.

Issues with Genetic Testing

Many people have ethical issues with genetic testing. Genetic testing and Christian ethics often bump heads and have resulted in a number of ethical debates.

Other issues with genetic testing include the limitations of testing. Genetic tests may not be able to show the severity of a particular defect or condition and cannot show when or if symptoms of the condition will appear in a particular person.

Genetic Testing Advantages and Disadvantages

While there are a number of advantages to knowing whether you or your child has or may develop a particular disease, there are also disadvantages associated with genetic testing.

If an individual is found to be a carrier or a sufferer of certain genetic diseases, it may affect whether or not he will be employed or insured in the future. This is called genetic discrimination.

Genetic Testing In Pregnancy

Prenatal genetic testing can be used to determine both mental and physical conditions in unborn children. This type of testing is often recommended if a pregnant woman is over age 34 or has had miscarriages in the past.

Genetic testing in pregnancy is also sometimes done when there is a family history of a particular disease.

Resources

Genetics Home Reference (2007). Genetics Testing. Retrieved January 7, 2008, from the GHR Web site: http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/testing.

Kids Health (2008). Genetic Testing. Retrieved January 7, 2008, from the Kids Health Web site: http://www.kidshealth.org/

parent/system/medical/genetics.html.

LBL (n.d.). What is Genetic Testing? Retrieved January 7, 2008, from the LBL Web site: http://www.lbl.gov/Education/

ELSI/genetic-testing.html.

Medline Plus (2007). Genetic Testing. Retrieved January 7, 2008, from the Medline Plus Web site: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/genetictesting.html.