Human beings have 46 chromosomes. Each of these chromosomes contain hundreds of genes. And the genes are the carriers of many of a person’s attributes and traits, and even give an indication of the person’s susceptibility towards certain health conditions.
Basically, genes, and hence chromosomes, are the encyclopedia of human bodies. They carry in them a lot of information that is unique to the person. They are kind of a blueprint that highlights and lays out the foundation of every human being. You can learn a lot about a human being just on the basis of their genes and chromosomes setup.
This is the reason why DNA testing has been one of the most fascinating and rewarding discoveries made in the field of science. Through DNA testing, a professional can get an in-depth view about the person undergoing the DNA test, and can find answers to the specific questions they have in mind. It’s no wonder the popularity of these tests have gone up at a rapid pace.
In fact, DNA tests have gotten so popular that companies are now offering customers with home DNA test kits. These types of genetic testing can reveal a lot of health-related and other fascinating things about people.
Today, we will look at some of the most useful applications of understanding DNA, by discussing the different types of genetic testing:
Type 1: Newborn Screening
As the name suggests, this type of genetic testing is done right after a baby is born. It is incredible what advancements in technology can help us achieve in the field of science. With newborn screening, doctors are able to detect any genetic disorder as soon as the child is born.
The early detection helps in immediate planning about how to tackle the information, and in many cases, can be treated early in the life of the child.
Type 2: Carrier Testing
Carrier DNA testing goes a step further than newborn screening. A genetic disorder is a possibility for a child when two copies of a mutated gene is found in the child’s DNA. And how do two mutated genes come together? This can happen if both the parents have one copy of the mutated DNA in their genes.
With carrier testing, both the parents often need to undergo the DNA test. Once the tests are carried out, it can be assumed with certainty whether the parents’ child be born with any kind of genetic disorder.
Type 3: Prenatal Testing
Prenatal testing is similar to carrier testing in a way that it gives the parents information about the possible risks their kids can face, even before the kid is born. With prenatal testing, doctor are on the lookout for changes in the genes or chromosomes of the fetus.
In many cases, this type of genetic testing is done when there is a known risk of a genetic disorder for the child. While this testing cannot give answers regarding all kinds of risks, it is often used to help couples take decisions regarding the pregnancy.
Type 4: Diagnostic Testing
Diagnostic testing is done when doctors feel a person could be suffering from a genetic condition, and want to rule out the possibility of that being true before starting any form of treatment.
Usually, diagnostic testing is done when there are observed physical symptoms that are hinting towards a particular genetic disorder. Diagnostic testing can be carried out before the birth of the child, or during any other time in the life of a person.
Type 5: Pre-implantation testing
Pre-implantation testing is again done to check for the possibility of a kid being born with a genetic disorder. Unlike with other forms of tests mentioned above, pre-implantation testing is actually done outside the female’s body, where egg cells from a woman’s ovary is taken out and fertilized with sperm cells. The cells of the embryo formed through this technique are then monitored to check for any form of genetic irregularities. If any embryo is found to be normal, this embryo then can be implanted back into the woman’s uterus.
Type 6: Predictive testing
As the name suggests, predictive DNA testing focuses more on predicting the possible future of a person depending on their current DNA and the chromosomes and genes of other family members.
These types of genetic testing are especially done for people who have no genetic disorders, but have people in their family suffering from some form of genetic defects. In many cases, this type of testing can also indicate if a person is more prone to a specific kind of cancer.
Type 7: Forensic testing
Forensic testing is probably the most heard of and also the most glamorous form of DNA testing because it is used for legal purposes. Forensic testing differs from all the tests mentioned above in a way because they are not used to identify any form of genetic mutation. This testing method is only used to use DNA to identify people, mostly in cases where a crime has been committed.
With new discoveries being made in the field of DNA testing, it is exciting to wait and watch what the future of DNA testing has in store for mankind.