Who performs genetic testing?

10.11 Genetic testing is available from publicly or privately operated laboratories. These laboratories may be accredited or non-accredited. A national scheme of accreditation exists in Australia through the National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia (NATA). Accreditation is discussed further in Chapter 11.

Publicly operated genetic testing laboratories

10.12 Federal, state and territory governments operate genetic testing laboratories, which are usually attached to or affiliated with public hospitals or universities. In addition, some laboratories function within a particular government department that utilises genetic testing. Some publicly funded laboratories provide genetic testing services to both the government and private sectors. For example, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has its own forensic services division, which performs DNA identification testing exclusively for the AFP, while in South Australia the Forensic Science Centre is government funded but provides testing services to government and the private sector.

10.13 Publicly funded genetic testing laboratories operate as service-orientated testing laboratories for government, community and health professionals, or as research-orientated testing laboratories, or both.

Privately operated genetic testing laboratories

10.14 Privately operated genetic testing laboratories are sometimes affiliated with private hospitals or universities, but many operate as independent profit-making entities. As with public laboratories, private genetic testing laboratories may offer service-orientated testing or research testing. Private laboratories sometimes also provide genetic testing services to government on an ad-hoc basis or under contract.