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What is Genetic Counseling

BY: Amna Adnan | Category: Genetics | Submitted: 2010-07-23 06:11:26
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Article Summary: "Genetic Counseling creates awareness in the people for the genetic defects. Genetic counselors are the health professionals who provide guidance to the families about the risks of having any genetic disease..."


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Genetic counseling is the process of counseling in which specialists or doctors provide awareness to the patients or relatives about the genetic disorder. They tell them that what is the nature of the disorder and hat are the chances of transmitting this disease to the off springs. Similarly couples are provided counseling by the doctors that whether there are any risks of their children having the genetic disease or not.

Who is a Genetic Counselor:-
Genetic counselors are the health professionals who provide guidance to the families about the risks of having any genetic disease. Thy also support those families and act as advocates of the patients. Many scientists are working in the genetic research and are finding the ways that how a genetic disease occurs.
Sometimes they also don't understand the causes of genetic defects. For this purpose genetic counselors work with the doctors and provide information to the families about the genetic disorders. When a patient goes to a genetic counselor,

1) The genetic counselor will record the family history of the individual and also his own medical background.

2) He will take blood tests and will examine the patient physically.

3) Genetic Counselor will collect all the information and will see if the person's family health may also affect his children.

4) He will provide the person proper guidance that ho he can protect his children from having a genetic disease.

Genetic counselors can be found directly or sometimes doctors recommend the specific genetic counselor. They not only guide the married couple about the chances of their child having a genetic defect but also predict the already present genetic defect in an individual.

Genetic Tests:-
When a patients is undergoing genetic counseling, genetic tests are performed which enable the doctors to determine whether the patient is suffering from the genetic disease or not. Genetic tests are performed either on the blood or skin sample in the following manner;

1) The DNA sample is extracted from the sample of hair or blood and the real genetic material is taken out of it. To determine the quantity of DNA, it is first measured and then using polymerase chain reaction, multiple copies of specific areas of DNA are made. Copies of the DNA enable the analysts to observe the smaller pieces of DNA.

2) When the multiple copies of specific DNA areas are made, they are separated from each other either by capillary electrophoresis or slab gels. This is how analyst is able to examine the short tandem repeats of the sequences. These short tandem repeats actually differ in people. the separated sections are then counted within the short tandem repeat regions. This is how the genotype of the separated sections is known. This is the genotype which enables the analyst to determine that how the STR regions are different from the other person's STR regions.

3) The DNA profile is made through the above steps. The comparison is then made between the two profiles and is known the paternity of the father or the suspect criminal in some serious crime. The profile which is matched with already present profile, it is called as inclusion and which does not match is called as exclusion. When the genetic disease has to be determined, then the analyst will see which gene is causing the particular disease.

Benefits of genetic counseling:-
When a couple consults a genetic counselor, he provides full information about the pregnancy. If some genetic mutations are found in a couple, he will prescribe the whole course of action. They also tell the couple if the fetus is undergoing any mutations and has serious medical condition. They will either tell the couple to do abortion or if the genetic defect is minute then they will provide medications. Today as there are great chances of newborns having genetic defects, it is necessary to consult a genetic counselor because only he can provide the proper guidance.

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