Jeans for Genes Day 2014

WHEN the first Jeans for Genes Day was launched 21 years ago the field of genetics was vastly different from the one seen today.

All those years ago genetic testing was done on single genes, now entire panels of genes can be tested through genome sequencing.

Hunter New England Health genetic counsellor, Bruce Hopper said that there have been many positive advancements in the ability to test for genetic conditions, including being able to test for many cardiac conditions.

"Only 18 months ago we saw very few people with cardiac conditions, but now that we can test people with the new panel of genes called the 'sudden death' panel, we see many more," he said.

"Once we have identified a gene change in a person with a cardiac condition we can test other family members who have no cardiac symptoms at all, to know if they are at increased risk of a cardiac condition," he said.

Mr Hopper said in the not too distant future testing will extend from whole panel testing to the whole genome of a person.

"Testing the whole genome of a person is on the horizon, with the aim of doing such tests for a reasonably inexpensive amount," Mr Hopper said.

As with all genetic concerns talk to your GP first, if required your GP will refer you to the genetics' service, which is free of charge.

Today (August 1) be sure to grab your jeans and a badge, as well as make a donation to the Children's Medical Research Institute, who is at the forefront of genetic advancements, investigating causes and treatments for childhood illnesses.

Tax deductible donations can also be made at

Genetic counsellor Bruce Hopper will be at Taree Central shopping centre today, Friday, August 1.

with various Children's Medical Research Institute merchandise, as well as being able to talk very generally about concerns that people may have.