Genetic testing is used to identify genetic disorders, and involves a detailed study of the DNA molecule. It is an effective tool to diagnose everything, from risks of cancer to genetic abnormalities in the newborn. This BiologyWise article focuses on the many pros and cons of this advanced technique.
Genetic testing, otherwise known as gene testing or the DNA testing, is amongst the latest techniques used to detect genetic disorders, if any, in the DNA molecules of our body. Genetic testing is used for biochemical tests for various gene products like the enzymes, proteins, etc. Let us have a look at the various reasons why genetic testing is carried out.
Why Genetic Testing is Carried Out
- The most popular and widely used purpose of using genetic testing is to detect newborn babies with any possibility of genetic disorders.
- Screening carriers of a disorder, i.e., detecting and identifying one of the two required set of genes to establish the particular genetic disorder is also done through it. The set of two genes that is mentioned here is the pair which is made out of the parent’s genes, one from the father and the other one from the mother.
- This test is also used to establish the paternity of a baby. The test detects the unique DNA and helps in determining who is the father of the child.
- It is conducted during pregnancy to check the embryo and detect any kind of defects in the genes.It also gives the couple a chance to decide whether to continue with the pregnancy or go for an abortion in case there is some serious complications in the fetus.
- It is very useful in the detection of faults in the genes in case of in vitro fertilization (IVF), which is a process in which an embryo is formed by fusion of the male sperm and female egg, outside the female body. It is an artificial way of conception.
- Genetic tests are extremely useful to people who have a history of genetic disorder(s) in the family, i.e., if genetic disorders are present in the genes. Diseases like cancer can be somewhat predicted and precautions can be taken in such cases.
- Genetic tests also play a major role in identifying criminals and plays a key role in forensics.
Pros of Genetic Testing
- One of the advantages of genetic testing is that it can be carried out at any given point of time in one’s life.
- In cases of prenatal genetic testing, a baby’s defects in the genes can be rectified before birth.
- If patients are made aware of their chances of being affected with some disease, they can go in for proper preventive measures to avoid or delay the setting in of the particular disease.
- Regular check ups and visits to the doctors can help determine the stages or onset of the suspected disease with the help of genetic testing which is always a better option.
Cons of Genetic Testing
- The fact that genetic testing is not available for all the kinds of genes in the body is one of its biggest drawbacks.
- The knowledge of having some genetic disorder can trigger various reactions in the family members which is bound to affect the person as well his or her family.
- Genetic testing is, many times, the cause of abortion of the girl fetus.
The bottom line, that genetic testing is all about probabilities, is something which everyone has to bear in mind. Hope this article helped throw light on the concept of genetic testing. Opponents and proponents of genetic testing have their own set of beliefs, making it one of the highly debated issues of the present times.