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Biological Chemistry

NIH Charts Path To Genomic Medicine

by Britt E. Erickson
February 14, 2011 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 89, Issue 7

NIH’s National Human Genome Research Institute outlined its vision for the future of genomics in a strategic plan released on Feb. 10. The plan, published in Nature (DOI: 10.1038/nature09764), focuses on research activities related to understanding genome structures, the biology of genomes, the biology of disease, advancing the science of medicine, and making health care more effective. It calls for creating more comprehensive databases of genomic and other “-omic” information, as well as the tools to mine that data. The plan also calls for routine use of genomics in clinical applications, such as screening newborns, and new technologies to better explain interactions between genes and the environment. “Researchers around the world are working toward a future when health care providers will use information about our individual genomes to better diagnose and treat disease,” NHGRI Director Eric Green said in a statement. “While significant challenges remain to our understanding of how the genome operates in health and disease, there are enough examples to say with confidence that genomics research will lead to important advances in medicine.” The plan comes on the 10th anniversary of the publication of the draft sequence of the human genome.


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