Genomics – its impact on Public Health


Genomics is the study of the full genetic complement of an organism (the genome). It uses a combination of recombinant DNA, DNA sequencing methods, and bioinformatics to sequence, assemble, and analyse the structure and function of genomes. It differs from the ‘Classical Genetics’ where in it considers an organism’s full genetic complement, rather than a single gene or a single gene product at a time. It focuses on intragenomic processes such as epistasis, heterosis and pleiotropy along with the interactions between loci and alleles within the genome.

Genomic technologies have initiated the way for new diagnoses, treatments and therapy for the patients with rare diseases. With the knowledge of Genomics, there is always a hope to discover the effective treatment for many diseases; if none is available, creating a new drug, gene therapy or biological therapeutic may be possible – though the time and the cost for new treatments for rare conditions is typically high. As there are many diseases/infections/disorders becoming common there is an increasing surge to find some solutions. Expecting that the International efforts and collaboration in genomics will hopefully help make this a reality.

Ensuring that advances in genomics are applied to the health improvement of people living in developing countries is a great challenge. Proper attention must be paid to complex ethical, legal, social, and economic issues, as well as to public education and engagement. Innovative and equitable international mechanisms and goodwill are needed to turn high expectations into the real world and enable the utilization of genomics to diminish the health inequities between rich and poor nations.

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