A polygenic test is a type of genetic test that measures the number of genetic variants a person has that are associated with a particular disease or trait. Polygenic tests are used to estimate a person's risk of developing a disease, such as heart disease, cancer, or type 2 diabetes.
Polygenic tests are based on the principle of genetic risk. Genetic risk is the likelihood that a person will develop a disease or trait based on their genes. Genetic risk is influenced by many factors, including the number of genetic variants a person has that are associated with the disease or trait, the environment, and lifestyle factors.
Polygenic tests are not 100% accurate. They can only estimate a person's risk of developing a disease. A person with a high polygenic risk score may never develop the disease, and a person with a low polygenic risk score may still develop the disease.
Polygenic tests are still under development. They are not yet widely used in clinical practice. However, they have the potential to be used to help people make informed decisions about their health.
Here are some of the potential benefits of polygenic tests:
Identify people who are at high risk of developing a disease. This information can be used to help people take steps to prevent or delay the onset of the disease.
Personalize treatment. Polygenic tests can be used to identify people who are more likely to respond to a particular treatment.
Identify people who are at risk of passing on a genetic disorder to their children. This information can be used to help people make informed decisions about family planning.
There are also some potential risks associated with polygenic tests:
False positives. A false positive is when a person tests positive for a disease or trait that they do not actually have. This can lead to unnecessary anxiety and stress.
False negatives. A false negative is when a person tests negative for a disease or trait that they actually have. This can lead to a delay in diagnosis and treatment.
Discrimination. Polygenic test results could be used to discriminate against people in areas such as employment, insurance, and housing.
Overall, polygenic tests have the potential to be a valuable tool for improving health. However, it is important to be aware of the potential risks and limitations of these tests before using them.