Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Genetic Testing

This last century has seen an escalation in advancement of technology. In about one hundred years, man has gone from the horse and buggy to super sonic flight. These advancements have also been implanted in the health industry as seen in the almost doubling of the life expectancy of man.It also appears as though this escalation will only continue. One field where these advancements are moving at a very high speed is the field of genetics and biotechnology. The last ten years have seen some of the greatest landmarks in genetic genealogy research. The pattern in this field indicates that the discoveries and applications of those discoveries will continue to grow at an exponential rate.

With the increase in genetic knowledge there has also been an increase in the variety and ease of genetic testing available. Genetic testing refers to any sort of test which involves the study of the genome. When genetics was in its infancy, tests were expensive and took a long period of time to perform. Recent advances have significantly decreased the costs and time needed to perform genetic testing. This decrease in cost and time has made genetic testing available to more of the general public.

Genetic testing has also been used for determining family relationships. The simplest relationship to determine with a genetic test is a paternal or a maternal relationship. Today, genetic testing can also be used to determine other, more distant relationships. Genetic testing is available for full siblings, half siblings, grandparents and cousins. This allows family relationships to be determined even if one or more of the family members is deceased. As research continues, the ability to dive deeper into your family tree is becoming possible. With the use of Y-chromosome and mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) testing more can be learned. The use of these genetic tests has allowed genealogists to verify their family trees and in some cases discover new branches that were not previously known. Genetic testing is even being used to understand the roots of family trees. This includes the use of genetic tests to look for Native American ancestry, and ancestry from different parts of Europe and Asia.

As knowledge and research in the area of genetics and biotechnology continue to advance, genetic testing will become even more accessible. This increase in use of genetic tests will give people more access to information. This information can be used to help solve crimes, increase the quality of health care, and provide information into your personal or family history.