Meeting the challenge of genetic advanceBMJ 1998; 316 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7131.570 (Published 14 February 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:570
Requires rigorous navigation between laboratory, clinic, and society
- Mike Gill, Director of public health and health policy,
- Tessa Richards, Associate editor
- Brent and Harrow Health Authority, Harrow, Middlesex HA1 3EX
See p 618
Advances in molecular genetics over the past decade have been remarkable. Soon the entire human genome will have been sequenced and most of the genetic loci associated with human disease identified. These advances have greatly enhanced understanding of disease mechanisms and begun to explain why the clinical course of common disorders such as diabetes, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis is so variable, as Bell discusses in the first of four articles on the broader implications of the new genetics (p 618).1 In future presymptomatic population based genetic testing for common late onset disorders such as Alzheimer's disease2 and colon cancer may become widespread and bring important health benefits. Genotyping may become part of routine investigations to help clinicians tailor drug treatment effectively.
But in what has been dubbed the “post-genome” era, increasing attention is now being paid to the limitations as well as the potential of DNA based genetic tests. The ability to detect genes …