Popular Science

What can genetic testing really tell you?

Risk is not a diagnosis.
DNA

All your genetic information is within reach.

Pixabay

Once difficult and expensive even for the most technologically advanced labs, genetic testing is fast becoming a cheap and easy consumer product. With a little spit and 200 dollars, you can find out your risk for everything from cystic fibrosis to lactose intolerance.

But it’s important to remember that not all genetic tests are created equal. And even the best clinical genetic test, carried out in a medical lab under a doctor's supervision, isn't perfect—genes are important, but they don't seal your fate.

Who should get a genetic test?

Genetic tests are diagnostic, so anyone who is curious about their health can get one done. But they're more informative if you think you might be at risk for a genetic disorder.

Heavy-duty genetic tests have been used as a clinical tool for almost half a and Ancestry.com began offering direct-to-consumer tests. Let’s say that many women in your family have had breast cancer. You can get a genetic test to see if you may have inherited an abnormal version of the BRCA gene, known to increase your risk for breast cancer.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Popular Science

Popular Science2 min readScience
Lavender Might Actually Help You Relax
Lavender Fields You can almost smell the serenity through the computer screen. Pixabay Having a bad day? Light a lavender candle and let all your stress waft away. Immersing yourself in a lavender cloud may actually help reduce anxiety, according to
Popular Science3 min read
How To Book A Good Hotel Room At The Best Possible Price
Sleep well—without worrying about all the money you're spending on your hotel room. Philipp Balunovic via Unsplash Travel gets very expensive very fast—and one of the biggest costs is the hotel room. But with all the discounts and deal-hunting sites
Popular Science5 min read
The Oldest Weapons In North America Offer A New View Of Prehistoric Tech
A 15,000 year old stemmed point. Texas A&M University History exists in the past, but that doesn’t mean it’s static. New findings, published Wednesday in Science Advances, illustrate the discovery of a dozen projectile points at the Debra L. Friedkin