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Molecular Genetics In Clinical Practice
E-Newsletter No. 43
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Discovery of the Double Helix Structure of DNA in 1953. Since then, the influence of genetic and molecular medicine on the health of patients has become sufficiently ubiquitous that it will have an impact on most common diseases. Undoubtedly, its influence will continue to grow over the next few decades (Table
It will not, however, answer all of the questions about human health, nor will it provide all the answers for optimizing clinical practice. The reductionism that accompanies molecular genetics will identify the pieces in the jigsaw puzzle, but assembling these to understand how complex systems malfunction will require a substantially more integrated approach than is available at present.
The crucial role played by environmental determinants of disease will perhaps become more tractable when combined with an understanding of genetic susceptibility. Sceptics, rightly, will wish to see more data before they acknowledge that molecular medicine will be truly transformed over the next 50 years, despite the fact that its influence on diagnostics and new therapeutics is already clearly apparent.
A transition is underway, the direction of travel is clear, but managing the change in clinical practice may prove at least as challenging as resolving the original double helix structure of the DNA molecule.
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