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Development of tests for disease using genetic markers is slower than expected

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 05 December 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g7486
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

Despite the promise of genomics and the frequent claims that it will revolutionise the practice of medicine, progress has been slower than anticipated, Stuart Hogarth, a research fellow at King’s College London, told a conference on 2 December.

His speech to the meeting, convened by the Progress Educational Trust, a charity that promotes ethically sound research and practice in genetics, assisted conception, embryo and stem cell research, and related areas, focused on biomarkers, generally deemed to be the “low hanging fruit” of the genomic revolution.

The hope had been that genomics would generate many new genetic biomarkers that would identify a person’s risk of a particular disease or could be used as reliable tests for the presence of the disease and the effects of treatment. But in fact the rate of discovery had been …

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