GTL DNA Review

GTL DNA (Genetic Testing Laboratories) is a DNA testing company based in the UK and Australia, although they provide testing services worldwide. 

GTL offers a wide variety of DNA testing services, ranging from discreet home paternity tests to legal tests, ancestry tests, and drug tests, amongst many others. 

Boasting the most highly accredited genetic testing laboratory worldwide and exceptional customer service, GTL sets itself apart from the rest of the DNA testing market. 

In this article, we’ll provide an extensive overview of the services provided by GTL DNA, alongside reviews of their ethical policies, website, and customer service.

GTL DNA Background

GTL DNA was founded in 2001. At this time, the company was one of the first to offer DNA testing services. 

Even now that the genetic testing industry has massively expanded, GTL still remains at the forefront of the DNA analysis market. 

Today, GTL is renowned for the accuracy of its tests and advertizes 99.999% accuracy. This is not only compliant with, but surpasses, the minimum accuracy threshold set out by the AABB (American Association of Blood Banks).


Services

Paternity Tests

The most popular DNA testing service offered by GTL is their Paternity Testing service. 

GTL’s paternity tests use DNA sequencing at 21 genetic loci to determine whether a male is the biological father of a child. 

Depending on whether the male is or is not the biological father, the accuracy of the results ranges between 99.9% to 100%. 

The method of sample collection for the paternity test will vary according to what kind of test is required. 

Beyond home paternity testing, GTL also offers legal paternity tests, as well as a non-invasive, prenatal paternity test, and immigration DNA testing.  

The home paternity test is the most affordable option, and also the most discreet. Testees can take the mouth swabs themselves in the privacy of their own home for peace of mind.

Because home paternity testing does not require legally valid identification, the results of home tests can’t be used in a court of law.

The legal paternity tests offered by GTL, meanwhile, require identification and witness testification by an unbiased sampler, which ensures that the results are legally admissible. 

In some cases, a DNA test may be legally required during immigration proceedings. GTL’s immigration DNA test collects genetic samples to prove the existence of a biological relationship where necessary for VISA applications and other documentation.

In the event that the paternity of a child needs to be established before birth, GTL’S prenatal paternity test uses a blood test from the mother and a cheek swab from the alleged father to determine paternity with 99.9% accuracy.

This test is not only the most advanced and accurate prenatal paternity test on the DNA testing market - but it’s also completely non-invasive, which eliminates the risk of potential miscarriage during testing. 

Prenatal Tests

As well as the prenatal paternity test, GTL offers other prenatal tests to determine the sex of an unborn baby, as well as to check for the possibility of Down’s Syndrome. 

Like the prenatal paternity test, the Baby Gender and Down’s Syndrome tests are completely non-invasive, so there is no risk to the baby. 

The Baby Gender test can be conducted as early as 8 weeks post-conception and uses a blood test from the mother to determine the sex of the baby with 98% accuracy. 

The Down’s Syndrome test, meanwhile, provides a non-invasive way to test for the number of chromosomal copies in the fetal DNA present in the mother’s blood. This will provide an indication as to whether or not the baby will be born with Down’s Syndrome. 

Surrogacy Tests

GTL also offers both maternity and paternity surrogacy tests. 

These tests are conducted for a variety of reasons, including to check that a baby conceived through artificial insemination is, in fact, a genetic match to the parents, and to establish the biological parents’ parental rights. 

GTL’s surrogacy tests can be conducted non-invasively through the use of mouth swabs.

Relationship Tests

GTL’s range of relationship tests can test for biological familial relationships. 

These relationship tests include testing for sibling relationships, twin DNA testing, maternity testing, maternal and paternal lineage testing, grandparent DNA testing, and an aunt or uncle DNA testing. 

GTL also offers a genetic reconstruction DNA test in the event that a paternity test cannot be conducted directly. This test involves taking samples from 3 of the child’s paternal relatives instead of the alleged father. 

GTL’s relationship tests are conducted using 4 mouth swabs per person for increased accuracy.

Ancestry Tests

GTL’s testing services don’t end at identifying immediate familial relationships. GTL also offers an ancestry testing service, through which 4 different types of ancestral DNA tests can be conducted. 

The GPS (Geographic Population Structure) Origins ancestry test traces DNA based on 800,000 DNA markers to determine a person’s geographic origins. 

This GPS test is highly accurate and can trace a person’s ancestry to a specific country, or even city, up to 1000 years in the past. 

GTL also offers ancestral paternal and maternal lineage testing. The maternal lineage test uses Nuclear and Mitochondrial DNA to determine maternal haplogroups and maternal ancestry migration.

The paternal lineage test, meanwhile, tests Y-chromosome DNA to reveal a male’s Y haplogroup and paternal clan. These tests are also available as a duo package. 

Finally, the Ancestral Origins DNA test compares an individual’s DNA against global populations and anthropological regions. The test then plots regional and population matches on a personalized DNA ancestry map.

This test can be upgraded for an additional cost to include detailed information about your genetic origins, plus a pie chart.

Clinical Tests

The clinical tests provided by GTL can test for certain diseases, intolerances, and genetic predisposition to certain health conditions.

The Genetic Predisposition test is able to test for 35 diseases. These diseases range from autoimmune to cardiovascular and also include nutritional, endocrine, metabolic, neurological, oncological, and eye diseases, amongst others. 

The Genetic Predisposition test analyzes Single Nucleotide polymorphisms from a blood sample obtained through a finger lancet to provide an individual’s risk percentage for the 35 diseases tested for. 

GTL’s Celiac Disease test simply requires a mouth swab to test an individual for Celiac Disease. 

Similarly, the Lactose Intolerance test uses mouth swabs to test the DNA sequence of a person’s LCT gene, revealing whether or not enough lactase is being produced. An insufficient amount of lactase indicates lactose intolerance.

Health and Wellbeing Tests

Beyond testing for disease and health conditions, GTL provides other DNA tests that can help to improve your overall health and wellbeing. 

GTL’s SkinCareDNA test uses 21 genetic markers in DNA extracted through mouth swabs to analyze your skin in terms of the following qualities: elasticity, sensitivity, pigmentation, collagen quality, wrinkling, sun protection, and antioxidants. 

Using these results, it is possible to create a skincare routine that appropriately caters to the individual properties of your skin. 

The Diet and Healthy Weight test, meanwhile, also uses mouth swabs to test your metabolic processes in relation to certain foods. 

The test results provide a personalized report indicating your body’s genetically predisposed ability to lose weight, respond to cardio and strength training, and process certain food, nutrient, and vitamin groups. It will also provide an indication of the ideal exercise regimen for your body. 

Drug Tests

GTL provides drug testing services for both personal and legal use. 

These tests are conducted by obtaining a sample of head hair or, if the hair is shorter than ½ inch, body hair. This hair sample can then be analyzed to test for the use of illegal substances within a 90-day timeframe for head hair, or a 12-month timeframe for body hair.

The substances tested for include opiates, amphetamines, methamphetamines, marijuana, ketamine, methadone, tramadol, fentanyl, and barbiturates, amongst others. 

This test can be done at home for personal use (eg. a parent monitoring their child’s substance use) or by a medical professional, at an additional cost, for legal use. 

DNA Profile Test

For anyone who wants or needs a unique form of identification for either personal or legal purposes, GTL offers a DNA profiling service. 

This service is available in a standard or legal package. 

The standard profile is suitable for informational use, but the results are not admissible in a court of law. 

The legal DNA profile requires documented identification and must be witnessed by a health professional or unbiased third party, making the results legally valid.

DNA Banking

In addition to profiling, GTL also offers the option to store your DNA in a secure laboratory using the ‘chain of custody’ procedure. 

This banking is offered as an independent service or in conjunction with 16-marker DNA profiling. 

Disaster Victim Identification Test

GTL’s extensive testing services go as far as to provide a DVIstat tissue extraction device to help with the identification of disaster victims. 

This device extracts tissue samples from the bodies of disaster victims whilst attaching a Radio-Frequency Identification Tag to the victim.

This helps to genetically identify the body and track its movements during subsequent transportation. 

Animal Tests

GTL also offers a variety of animal DNA testing services. 

For dogs, these tests include a Dog Breed Identification test, Dog Allergy test, Dog Parentage test, a Dog Inherited Disease test, and an advanced Wisdom Panel 2.0 Dog Breed Test. 

GTL can also test for parentage and DNA profile in horses, polycystic kidney disease in cats, and sex in birds.  

All of these tests are as simple and painless as the genetic testing designed for use on humans, and even use many of the same sampling methods, so you can rest assured that your animal won’t be harmed in any way during the testing process.

Ethics and Accreditation

GTL operate their services in accordance with solid ethical standards and legal requirements.

GTL’s privacy policy complies with legal GDPR requirements established by the Data Protection Act. 

The policy states that customers’ data is not shared with third parties except where there is a legal obligation to do so (eg. in order to comply with data controllers, or in other legally implicated situations).

In the event that data would be shared for mail marketing purposes, this would only be done with the customer’s permission. 

GTL affords its customers the right to request access, deletion, amendation, or rectification of their data, and all requests will be processed within 30 days. 

GTL’s ethical practices are further exhibited through their charity work. The company has worked with Martlets hospice, which provides palliative care for individuals with terminal illnesses, and the Safer Internet Centre, which promotes the safe use of online technology. 

This charitable work demonstrates GTL’s commitment to helping those in need and practicing the ethical use of technology.

Additionally, GTL’s laboratories are ISO 17025, ILAC-MRA, and NATA accredited, so you can rest assured that your data is being handled according to the highest operating standards and degree of competency. 

Website

GTL’s company website is, for the most part, professional and easy to navigate. 

The homepage provides a well-presented summary of GTL’s key services and benefits. 

The drop-down menus are easy to navigate, and the company’s telephone number is easily accessible at the top of the screen from any page on the website, along with links to their offices and social media. There’s even an option to request a call back from the company. 

The website provides a vast amount of detailed information regarding the company’s practices, services, and testing methods, meaning you have access to all of the relevant information before you order your desired test. 

The only real downside to the website is that some of the pages could be made more easily accessible. For example, the ‘About Us’ tab is located right at the bottom of the website with the privacy policy and terms and conditions, rather than in the ‘Our Company’ menu, as one might expect. 

Additionally, some of the DNA services, such as the Surrogacy Test and DNA Banking, are miscellaneously grouped together in the ‘Other Tests’ section of the ‘Services’ menu, which makes them less visible to potential customers.

Some customers have also reported finding the online ordering process confusing and unreassuring due to unusual payment page layouts. 

Customer Experience

GTL has been known to provide outstanding customer service, as the glowing testimonials on their website indicate. 

This is one of the aspects of GTL’s service that really sets the company apart from other DNA testing companies. 

GTL strives to make its genetic testing experience as discreet, efficient, and straightforward as possible to ensure maximum customer satisfaction. 

GTL employs a professional customer care team, contactable through the online contact form on their website. 

Although different genetic tests have different turnaround times (for example, home paternity tests take just 3-5 working days, while prenatal paternity tests take 5-7 working days), GTL provides a reliable and efficient service that adheres to the timeframes stated on their website. 

An express service is also available to purchase for an additional cost in the event of an urgent case. 

All testing kits and results are discreetly packaged for confidentiality, which is crucial to customer experience with such a potentially sensitive service.

Moreover, GTL are flexible in terms of their sampling options. Whilst mouth swabs are GTL’s main method of DNA testing, with blood samples being used for certain tests, GTL makes every effort to facilitate other sampling methods (eg. nail clippings or blood stains) for customer convenience where possible. 

However, the website does state that alternative sampling methods should be discussed with the customer care team prior to sampling. 

One downside to the GTL customer experience is, unfortunately, the sample forms themselves. Some customers have reported that these forms are several pages long and confusing to fill out, even with the instructions provided. 

The results can also reportedly be difficult to read due to the color-coded table format and use of scientific terminology and statistics. 

Overview 

Advantages

  • Extensive range of DNA tests 
  • Highly accurate results 
  • Fast turnaround of results 
  • Express service available for urgent cases 
  • Excellent customer service
  • Comparatively reasonable prices 
  • Discreet packaging
  • Website is easy to navigate 
  • Legally admissible testing options available 
  • Data handling processes are GDPR compliant 
  • Prenatal tests are safe and non-invasive 
  • Painless mouth swab sampling used wherever possible 
  • Sampling alternatives accepted in lieu of mouth swabs

Disadvantages

  • Some flaws in website layout and payment pages
  • Forms are extensive and confusing to fill out 
  • Results may be difficult to read 

Final Thoughts 

GTL provides a DNA testing service for just about every eventuality. Whether you want to trace your ancestry back 1000 years, discover the identity of a relative, estimate your predisposition to rheumatoid arthritis, or even find out the sex of your parakeet, GTL has you covered. 

The outstanding customer service and very reasonable prices offered by GTL place them head and shoulders above the majority of the competition in the DNA testing industry. 

GTL comes highly recommended for both human and animal genetic testing. Although the sampling forms and results can prove difficult to complete and read, GTL can be trusted to provide fast and accurate results in an ethical and confidential manner. 

If you consider efficiency, accuracy, professionalism, and affordability to be your top priorities in terms of genetic testing, you will be highly satisfied with GTL’s services. 

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