Latest update: 03/07/2017

Executive laboratories

Check available genetic tests for more information about the genetic analyses offered by the CMG UZ Brussel.

Classic genetic testing is done at two levels: chromosomes and genes.

The first type of test is carried out at the cell level, and we call this cytogenetics (from cyto: cell).

The second type of test looks at the letters and/or letter sequences in genes and this is consequently called molecular DNA research.

At the Centre for Medical Genetics (CMG) at UZ Brussel we also carry out more specialised research into the proteins involved in cellular waste processing. This testing for lysosomal storage diseases is either done by molecular DNA testing or by biochemical methods.
Check also Scope of the tests.


Scope of the tests

Unfortunately genetic research has not succeeded in finding an answer to all the questions that can arise. There are a number of possibilities:
  • different genetic defects can give rise to identical or very similar clinical pictures. As a result it is not easy to find out exactly what the genetic defect is;
  • also the same genetic disorder can cause different symptoms in different individuals, and the disorder can also develop in a different way. This is often the case in so-called metabolic diseases, and in mitochondrial disorders;
  • the symptoms do not always correspond to a known genetic defect. Scientists sometimes spend many years looking for various 'suspect' genes, which is like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack;
  • although it is theoretically possible to test all genes, this is not feasible in practice. For example, there are a number of rare inherited disorders for which the determinant gene is in fact known, but a routine DNA test cannot be carried out. That is because developing a test requires so much time and money that it is not feasible to do it for a single individual.
    However the new technique of genome wide analysis may now offer promising possibililities in this respect.