The following excerpt is taken from the GeneTests Laboratory website at www.genetests.org.
A genetic test is the analysis of human DNA, RNA, chromosomes, proteins or certain metabolites in order to detect alterations related to a heritable disorder. This can be accomplished by directly examining the DNA or RNA that makes up a gene (direct testing), looking at markers co-inherited with a disease-causing gene (linkage testing), assaying certain metabolites (biochemical testing), or examining the chromosomes (cytogenetic testing).
Research studies are those in which specimens are examined for the purpose of understanding a condition better, or developing a clinical test.
Points to consider:
Clinical tests are those in which specimens are examined and results reported to the medical care provider or patient for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of an individual patient.
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