How Genetic Testing Works

Types of Genetic Testing

Genetic testing is still relatively new in the field of medicine. Unless they have needed genetic services, many people still do not know exactly what genetic medicine is or how genetic testing is used to improve health. Simply put, genetic testing is the science of applying laboratory methods to study your genes—the DNA material inherited from your parents. The results of these tests can be used to identify risks for health problems. With that knowledge, doctors and patients can work to help prevent disease and make the most informed choices about treatment and management of genetic disorders should they manifest.

The Greenwood Genetic Center has provided genetic testing since 1974. Research and diagnostic testing at GGC is largely focused on intellectual disability, birth defects and autism.

There are multiple diagnostic labs at GGC, each providing different specialized genetic services:

  • Biochemical Lab
  • Cytogenetics Lab
  • Molecular Lab

There are two sides to genetic testing: clinical testing for patients and testing done as part of research protocol.

Clinical genetic testing refers to the tests patients receive in order to provide information about a genetic disorder. People who are at high risk for certain genetic disorders may be referred for diagnostic testing, predictive testing, carrier testing, prenatal testing and newborn screening. The Greenwood Genetic Center’s Diagnostic Laboratories conduct over 200 different genetic tests for a variety of disorders.

The other type of genetic testing, research testing, may help identify the causes of genetic disease by identifying new gene changes. Research testing is performed under strict protocols and may or may not provide information to assist the patient directly. Research testing may serve a broader purpose of understanding how, why and when a gene mutates with a goal of leading to better treatment in the future.

The Process of Genetic Testing at the Greenwood Genetic Center

When a patient is referred to GGC by their healthcare professional, they will first undergo a genetic consultation with a clinician. The results of that consultation may result in genetic testing.

Genetic tests can help to:

  • Diagnose a genetic disorder.
  • Identify gene changes related to a clinically diagnosed condition.
  • Predict the severity of a disease.
  • Help doctors and patients develop a treatment plan.
  • Identify gene mutations that increase risks for developing a disease.
  • Identify gene mutations that could be passed on to children.
  • Screen newborn babies for genetic conditions.

Contact the Greenwood Genetic Center at  864-941-8100 for more information about genetic testing or contact us to find the Greenwood Genetic Center clinic closest to you.

Meet Reggie Roper

Reggie has been part of the GGC family for over 18 years. He has short stature, webbing of his hands, pulmonary stenosis, seizures and hydrocephalus along with developmental delay. He carried an initial diagnosis of cardiofaciocutaneous (CFC) syndrome; however, as genetic testing advanced, GGC made the diagnosis of Noon...

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