The first federal guidelines for the use of molecular, or DNA-based genetic testing, have been unveiled by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) following a sharp rise in the number of tests being carried out.

The Good Laboratory Practices for Molecular Genetic Testing for Heritable Diseases and Conditions recommendation has been released so that clinicians, public health and lab professionals can standardise testing procedures and enable accurate diagnosis.

The number of tests for genetic conditions has more than tripled since 2001 and the quantity of genetic conditions for which tests are available has increased to more than 1,300, from 423 in 2000.

The guidelines, developed by the Coordinating Center for Infectious Diseases team in Atlanta, include lab personnel qualifications, testing methods and performance, result reporting, interpretation and appropriate use in advising patients.