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Limitations of genetic testing

Rapid advances in genetic medicine are constantly improving doctors' ability to detect mutations and diagnose disorders. However, genetic testing does have limitations:

  • Genetic tests offer only a diagnosis, not a cure.
  • Genetic testing cannot always predict the severity of a disease.
  • Lab errors are rare but can occur. It is important to choose a reputable testing facility.
  • There are still many genetic disorders for which tests have not yet been developed.
  • Genetic test results are not straightforward, and interpreting them can be challenging even for a trained medical professional.
  • Predictive testing for mutations associated with multifactorial diseases such as cancer won't tell you whether or not you will get the disease. It will only tell you about your genetic risk factors.
  • No test is 100% definitive. Accuracy is generally high but varies depending on the disorder. To find out the detection rate for a specific condition, see our dictionary of genetic diseases.