What is DNA

DNA is the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms. Nearly every cell in a person’s body has the same DNA. The information in DNA is a code that determines the information available for building and maintaining an organism. DNA represents a brick to build more complex information units, chromosomes, genes, or proteins.

DNA and Genetic testing

Genetic testing is a type of analytical test that identifies changes in chromosomes, genes, or proteins.

More than 1,000 genetic tests are currently in use and more are being developed.

Several methods can be used for genetic testing:

  • Molecular genetic tests (or gene tests) study single genes or short lengths of DNA to identify variations or mutations that lead to a genetic disorder.
  • Chromosomal genetic tests analyze whole chromosomes or long lengths of DNA to see if there are large genetic changes, such as an extra copy of a chromosome, that cause a genetic condition.
  • Biochemical genetic tests study the amount or activity level of proteins; abnormalities in either can indicate changes to the DNA that result in a genetic disorder.


Future of genetic testing

The uniqueness of the genetic material that makes it a unique imprint of each individual allows use of DNA in a variety of different applications, from liquid biopsy for the early diagnosis of cancer, to prenatal testing, to population studies and forensic genetics.