Frequently Asked Questions
What is a genetic test for?
Genetic tests tell you about mutations present in your DNA. The vast majority of them are harmless, but some are associated with certain physiological conditions and diseases. Therefore, with a simple saliva, hair or blood sample you can learn more about your body and improve your quality of life.
Many laboratories offer different types of tests, depending on what you are interested in knowing:
- Ancestry: family history, generational roots and ethnicity of your ancestors.
- Health: risk for oncological, rare, autoimmune diseases and more.
- Nutritional: nutrient absorption, susceptibility to certain odors/flavors or weight gain/loss.
- Pharmacological: compatibility with multiple drugs and treatments.
- Kinship: to verify the biological relationship between two individuals.
Is it legal to take a genetic test?
In Spain, legislation requires a genetic test to have:
- Clinical utility: not all tests are scientifically sound.
- Prescription: results can have major implications for your life.
- Genetic counseling: tests provide information that is difficult to interpret.
As you can see in our comparison tool, many tests on the market do not comply with these regulations. So we recommend that you only buy those that meet the three legal requirements mentioned above.
For example, it is not useful to simply receive an X-ray or an electrocardiogram, they must be interpreted in order to make decisions. That is why we consider it essential that a genetic counselor interprets your results with you.
What is the scientific validity of a genetic test?
The scientific validity of the markers analyzed in a genetic test is influenced by factors such as:
- The number of scientific studies conducted.
- The complexity of the biological aspect to which they are associated.
- The effect that the environment can have on this biological aspect.
Genetic markers with high reliability include those associated with:
- Mendelian diseases: simple diseases explained by a single gene are easy to diagnose.
- Drugs: since it is known exactly on which gene the drugs act, it is possible to know whether a mutation disables or facilitates the action of the drug.
- Kinship marker: since there are billions of possible mutations in our DNA, the biological relationship between two people is easy to estimate by the percentage of mutations they have in common.
Conversely, genetic markers with low reliability include those associated with:
- Multigene diseases: when many genes are involved in a disease, it is difficult to know the exact combination of mutations necessary for the development of the disease.
- Nutritional, sports, intelligence or beauty markers: in these cases the environment has a very important influence. For example, two people with the same mutation detrimental to cardiac capacity may actually have very different capacities due to their different diet and physical activity.