DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic staff
Genetic testing involves examining your DNA, the chemical database that carries instructions for your body's functions. Genetic testing can reveal changes or alterations in your genes that may cause illness or disease.
Although genetic testing can provide important information for diagnosing, treating and preventing illness, there are limitations. For example, if you're a healthy person, a positive result from genetic testing doesn't always mean you will develop a disease. On the other hand, in some situations, a negative result doesn't guarantee that you won't have a certain disorder.
Talking to your doctor or a genetic counselor about what you will do with the results is an important step in the process of genetic testing.
- Genetic testing. Genetics Home Reference. http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/testing. Accessed Nov. 20, 2010.
- Frequently asked questions about genetic testing. National Human Genome Research Institute. http://www.genome.gov/19516567. Accessed Nov. 20, 2010.
- BRCA1 and BRCA2: Cancer risk and genetic testing. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/BRCA. Accessed Nov. 20, 2010.
- Raby BA, et al. Genetic counseling and testing. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Nov. 20, 2010.