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Frequently Asked Questions About Genetic Testing
source: National Human Genome Research Institute
What is genetic testing?
Genetic testing uses laboratory methods to look at your genes, which are the DNA instructions you inherit from your mother and your father. Genetic tests may be used to identify increased risks of health problems, to choose treatments, or to assess responses to treatments.
What can I learn from testing?
There are many different types of genetic tests. Genetic tests can help to:
– Diagnose disease
– Identify gene changes that are responsible for an already diagnosed disease
– Determine the severity of a disease
– Guide doctors in deciding on the best medicine or treatment to use for certain individuals
– Identify gene changes that may increase the risk to develop a disease
– Identify gene changes that could be passed on to children
– Screen newborn babies for certain treatable conditions
Genetic test results can be hard to understand, however specialists like geneticists and genetic counselors can help explain what results might mean to you and your family. Because genetic testing tells you information about your DNA, which is shared with other family members, sometimes a genetic test result may have implications for blood relatives of the person who had testing.
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