NCI Dictionary of Genetics Terms

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Welcome to the NCI Dictionary of Genetics Terms, which contains technical definitions for more than 150 terms related to genetics. These definitions were developed by the PDQ® Cancer Genetics Editorial Board to support the evidence-based, peer-reviewed PDQ cancer genetics information summaries.

genetic counseling
(jeh-NEH-tik KOWN-suh-ling)
A communication process that seeks to assist affected or at-risk individuals and families in understanding the natural history, disease risks, and mode of transmission of a genetic disorder; to facilitate informed consent for genetic testing when appropriate; to discuss options for risk management and family planning; and to provide for or refer individuals for psychosocial support as needed.