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How does genetic testing in a research setting differ from clinical genetic testing?

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The main differences between clinical genetic testing and research testing are the purpose of the test and who receives the results. The goals of research testing include finding unknown genes, learning how genes work, developing tests for future clinical use, and advancing our understanding of genetic conditions. The results of testing done as part of a research study are usually not available to patients or their healthcare providers. Clinical testing, on the other hand, is done to find out about an inherited disorder in an individual patient or family. People receive the results of a clinical test and can use them to help them make decisions about medical care or reproductive issues.

It is important for people considering genetic testing to know whether the test is available on a clinical or research basis. Clinical and research testing both involve a process of informed consent in which patients learn about the testing procedure, the risks and benefits of the test, and the potential consequences of testing.

For more information about the differences between clinical and research testing:

The Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center describes the difference between clinical and research genetic testingThis link leads to a site outside Genetics Home Reference..

The Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndromes (SADS) Foundation also outlines the major differences between clinical tests and research testsThis link leads to a site outside Genetics Home Reference..

The Columbia University Medical Center offers a table that summarizes the major differences between clinical genetic testing and genetic researchThis link leads to a site outside Genetics Home Reference..

Additional information about clinical and research testsThis link leads to a site outside Genetics Home Reference. is available from the Genetic Testing Registry.


Next: What is genetic ancestry testing?

 
Published: September 15, 2014