Genetic testing that can be done in the home are becoming popular with individuals looking to research their ancestry. However, these tests can reveal more than just ethnic background. They can predict risks for disease, detect genetic abnormalities and even reveal particular mutations that could be problematic. Genetic testing isn't that common, however, beyond treating some rare diseases and the ancestry hobbyists, but in the United Kingdom, there is a movement to make genetic testing part of routine patient screening.
Since many cancers run in families, there is a database of volunteers who have provided more than 31,000 genetic samples to be mapped and sequenced. The hope is that in amongst all of this big data, trends will emerge that researchers can use to point the way to causes of certain diseases and, hopefully, new treatments. Getting more people on board is crucial however. It was through genetic testing and data crunching that the BRCA gene for breast and ovarian cancer was discovered.