We understand that you may have some questions about this service. We have identified some common frequently asked questions that may give you additional insights into our tests.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can we learn through these genetic tests?

Genetic testing offers us a journey into understanding our own makeup and how our unique DNA can impact our response to medication, how best to support our own nutrition or where we may be more likely to develop certain diseases such as cancer or other chronic diseases such as heart disease or diabetes.

Before any decisions are made around your care, in partnership with your treating physician or Medical Practitioner, we will provide exceptional international genetic expertise to guide, inform and jointly plan a patient’s personalised interventions. This will empower you to make the best decisions regarding your treatment at the right time to optimise your own health and well-being.

What do the genetic tests involve?

The tests offered by Mediclinic Precise are non-invasive and make use of either a swab from the inside of your mouth, saliva or a simple blood test, depending on the specific testing performed. The test kits can either be ordered online or may require your doctor to request them and a blood test (in the case of the non-invasive prenatal test) can be performed by a phlebotomist, in which case the Mediclinic Precise team will contact you and schedule for a phlebotomist to come to your location for the blood draw.  

Can these genetic tests predict future diseases?

By understanding your genetic profile, our team can help predict the likelihood of future disease or the severity of existing disease through precise screening, early intervention and improved clinical outcomes. Genetic testing is a fairly new technology, and as science develops more understanding of the link between disease and our genetic variants as more insights keep being discovered.

For example, for certain cancer or heart disease genetic test panels there is more evidence linking specific gene mutations or variances to the cause or risk for those diseases, whereas for rare diseases one may investigate all the genes to determine or try and determine a causal link. If more evidence for a particular rare disease is scientifically validated and made publicly available in the future then one is able to assign a genetic variant that was previously reported as unknown to the new assignment and link the genetic variant to the rare disease.

Will my DNA profile change over time?

No, but knowledge will grow around areas of genetic markers and their link to various diseases or such as your response to specific pharmaceuticals will grow. As this new knowledge is achieved it will be added to your profile over time and you can request to have your genes reanalysed for the latest insights. Greater access to additional DNA profiles will allow scientific knowledge to be refined over time and therefore continue to contribute to knowledge around your specific profile.

Do all genetic tests generate the same amount of insights?

Genetic tests range from interrogating single or small sets of genes to mapping out your whole genome. It’s the equivalent of reading just the chapter headings in a book compared with extracts from each chapter compared to reading every single word.

Some genetic tests only require a few genes to be identified such as chromosome abnormalities such as Downs Syndrome. Others require more detailed sections of genes to be identified. And then there is the ultimate – the whole genome sequence – which maps out all the genes. However, with greater detail comes more uncertainty as not all the genes have been linked to diseases and the results of the genetic test may not determine with confidence what abnormalities are present.

Your Mediclinic Precise team will help guide you to choose the correct test detail for the questions you are trying to answer. We will support you in achieving the greatest value by balancing the information you require with the complexity of the tests involved, providing the most certainty.

Can someone use my DNA for any other purpose?

No, your consent allows us to profile you according to the tests ordered and provide additional guidance to your treating physician or yourself on your health risks or potential response to pharmaceutical treatments. You can choose to keep your genetic data in a repository for future analysis when new scientific insights occur. And you can also choose to have your data form part of research, which will contribute to a greater understanding of genetic profiles. No specific information will be shared with other parties outside the partner laboratories that conduct the genetic tests.

How can testing my genetic profile help others?

If you chose to make your genetic data available for research purposes, your anonymised genetic testing data can be used to further the development of a Genome Database that adequately captures diversity not only in South Africa but globally. This adds to future knowledge generation for drug development research and more precise treatment for not only populations that have been significantly studied but also for diverse and underrepresented population groups, such as those with African ancestry. This means that only authorised researchers, who have completed the necessary ethical clearances, can access your specific DNA profile and limited relevant clinical information, however, they will not be able to identify that the DNA profile belongs to you.

What are the limitations of genetic testing?

Genetic testing may not identify a genetic variant even though one exists. This may be due to limitations in current testing technology, the interpretation of the report or because of an incomplete understanding of the significance of variants detected as part of current medical knowledge. Therefore the test may not detect all the long-term medical risks that may be present.

Due to the above limitations, it is important that you consult with your Medical Practitioner before making any changes to your health management for any medical conditions you may have.

Will my data be protected?

All customer analyses are identified by a personal bar code. This code is a recurring ID for a customer’s sample when genotyping in the lab, as well as during all applicable data analysis and processing, the data will be saved as such in the data portal. All data is kept at a secure location with double access control under the rules of “privacy by design”.