Technical Topics

Find out more about next-generation sequencing and much more.

We have compiled some technical topics for you below. You will learn, among other things, what sequencing is and how genetic information can be determined from blood.

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Interesting Facts about Technical Topics

Sequencing refers to the step-by-step reading of genetic information. As explained in the section “What is genetics?”, DNA consists of four different bases, making up a sequence that codes for the blueprint of the cell. Sanger sequencing is the origin of genetic analysis. It makes use of the PCR technique (polymerase chain reaction, for the amplification of DNA). The two strands of the DNA double helix (see “What is genetics?”) are separated and the second strand is recreated using the template of one strand. A small number of modified bases are incorporated, each of which leads to a termination of the synthesis and identification of the type and position of this base. If this process is repeated often enough so that every possible length of the DNA fragment in question is present, the sequence of the bases can be determined based on the length of the fragments and thus the genetic information can be decoded.

NGS stands for Next-Generation Sequencing and refers to our core technology that we use to decode genetic information. The concept behind the two technologies Sanger sequencing (see What is sequencing?) and NGS is similar. However, compared to the original Sanger sequencing, NGS has the advantage that many more gene sequences can be analysed at once in high throughput and with high quality. The technique is therefore faster, has a lower limit of detection and comprehensive coverage of the analyzed gene sequences. We continuously invest in the latest technologies to provide you with precise and reliable results at the cutting edge of science.

EDTA stands for ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid. EDTA is an additive that is contained in some blood tubes to prevent the blood from clotting, which would make analysis impossible. It is a chelator, i.e. a chemical substance that can bind certain metal ions. If EDTA is added to a blood sample, calcium (Ca²+) from the blood can be bound to it. As calcium is an essential part of blood clotting, this ensures that the blood does not clot and therefore remains liquid and can be used for analysis for longer. An EDTA blood tube should therefore be taken for the preventive genetic analysis.

There are cells in the blood that carry the individual genetic information. If you send us a blood sample, we filter out these cells. DNA can be extracted from the cells, which we can then use for genetic analysis. The sequence of the DNA, the genetic information, is determined using next-generation sequencing. Based on this, we can analyze whether there are variants in the genetic material that increase the risk of certain diseases.

The confidential treatment of personal and genetic data is particularly important to us. Genetic diagnostics, like other medical examinations, is based on a relationship between a doctor and a person seeking advice and all information is treated with the utmost confidentiality. Data is also only transmitted via secure portals such as FTAPI. FTAPI is a German software provider for simple and secure data exchange, which is end-to-end encrypted using the SecuPass technology with automatic key exchange. All relevant documents can be transmitted to us through this platform, and the findings can be shared with you. This means that your data is always secure.

Our genetic information is passed on to us by our parents. It lays the foundation for our appearance but can also carry predispositions for certain diseases. Almost all cells in our body contain the entire genome and this is generally always the same. As genetics is static, i.e. the sequence of DNA building blocks does not change, a preventive genetic analysis, which determines inherited predispositions to diseases, only needs to be carried out once. As research progresses, new findings about currently unknown variants/genes may of course emerge. From this point of view, a reanalysis of the genetic information might make sense.

Your Question Was Not Included?

If you could not find the answer to your question here, please take a look at our other sections.

Biological Topics

Information about the structure of DNA, how a variant occurs and much more

Medical Topics

Explanations of medical terms and diseases

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