Genetic testing can also be used to determine biological relatives, such as a child’s biological paternity through DNA paternity tests, or they can be used to broadly predict a person’s ancestry. Carriership tests: These are used to identify people who carry one copy of a genetic mutation that, when present in two copies, causes a genetic disorder. This type of test is offered to people with a family history of a genetic disorder and to people from ethnic groups with an increased risk of specific genetic disorders. If both parents are tested, the test can provide information about a couple’s risk of having a child with a genetic condition such as cystic fibrosis. Genetic testing looks for changes, sometimes called mutations or variants, in your DNA. Genetic testing is useful in many areas of medicine and can change the medical care you or your family member receives.
For example, a medical procedure called a mouth swab uses a small brush or cotton swab to collect a sample of cells from the inner surface of the cheek. Alternatively, a small amount of salty mouthwash can be stirred into the mouth to collect the cells. The sample is sent to a lab where technicians look for specific changes in chromosomes, DNA or proteins, depending on the suspected conditions, often using DNA sequencing. The lab reports the test results in writing to someone’s doctor or genetic advisor. The Health + Ancestry service assesses genetic health risks, such as Parkinson’s disease, carrier status of cystic fibrosis and 39 other conditions.
You should try to find a provider or genetic advisor near you to perform DNA testing. But if you can’t get through your health care provider, you can get a DNA testing kit directly from a DNA testing company. The best DNA test kits provide easy-to-understand information about the scientific basis of your tests, but it’s risky to use them because there may not be anyone you can talk to about the results in person. Newborn screening: Used immediately after birth to identify genetic conditions that can be treated early in life. A blood sample with a prick in the newborn’s heel is taken 24 to 48 hours after birth and sent to the laboratory for analysis.
The basic ancestry and traits test, which is now on sale for $99, includes an analysis of their genetic makeup, including their regions of origin, maternal and paternal ancestry, and Neanderthal ancestry. Once you sign up, the company’s match database, which has over 10 million profiles, will identify you and offer to put you in touch with people who share a DNA match with you. Genetic testing recommended by a genetics expert can tell you if you have a specific genetic mutation that Horvath Clock Test increases your risk of developing cancer, but it can’t tell you if you’ll develop cancer or not. It may not yet be known whether some mutations are harmless or whether they increase certain health risks. Researchers are always learning more about genetic test results and what they can mean, but right now there are still many unanswered questions. If you’re considering performing genetic testing, talk to your health care provider first and plan to meet with a genetic counselor.
In the United States, newborn screening procedures vary from state to state, but all states test by law for at least 21 conditions. If abnormal results are obtained, it does not necessarily mean that the child has the condition. Routine testing of babies for certain conditions is the most common use of genetic testing: Millions of babies are tested each year in the United States. All states are currently testing babies for phenylketonuria and congenital hypothyroidism. People with PKU do not have an enzyme needed to process the amino acid phenylalanine, which is responsible for normal growth in children and normal protein utilization throughout their lives.