What Happens in a Genetics Laboratory? via Genetic Alliance UK

What Happens in a Genetics Laboratory?

Laboratories may use anonymised DNA samples to help develop

new tests, or share them as part of Quality Assurance (QA)

schemes, unless an individual specifies that they do not wish

their sample to be used in this way. Like any stored clinical

samples, DNA is regarded as part of a patient’s medical record

and is therefore kept in medical confidence. This means that

access to it is only possible through an appropriate healthcare


Some people are concerned about the police accessing their

DNA. This is an extremely rare request. If the police should

want access to a DNA sample from the genetics laboratory (as

with any other part of a patient’s medical record) then this is only

possible on production of a court order.


This leaflets was developed by Genetic Alliance UK, with the help of Dr Ian M

Frayling, Institute of Medical Genetics, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff,

UK and Dr Domenico Coviello, Laboratory of Medical Genetics, Fondazione

IRCCS, Milan, Italy.

Published: March 2009

Revision Date: March 2011

This work was supported by EuroGentest, an EU-FP6 supported NoE contract

number 512148

Illustrations: Rebecca J Kent