Personalized medicine is “an emerging practice of medicine that uses an individual’s genetic profile to guide decisions made in regard to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease,” according to the National Human Genome Research Institute.
Determining an individual’s genetic profile is based on analysis of his or her genome. What is the genome?
A genome is a person’s complete set of DNA ( deoxyribonucleic acid), including all of its genes. Each genome contains all of the information needed to build and maintain that person. DNA is present in 23 pairs of chromosomes found in the nucleus of cells. DNA consists of units called nucleotides, with the distinguishing feature being four chemical bases. Genes are small segments of DNA, which act as instructions (codes) to make protein molecules. A large portion of genomic DNA does not code for protein, but may have functions related to regulating the activities of genes. Excellent discussions on the genome, DNA, and genes are available on the internet.
The Human Genome Project completed in 2003 was a landmark study to determine the sequence of all the DNA subunits of the human genome. The long-term aim of the project was to advance the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Now, over two decades after the project’s completion these benefits are beginning to be realized, and serve as the basis of personalized medicine.
Coming up next time– progress on the Precision Medicine Initiative.
- A Brief Guide to Genomics. National Human Genome Research Institute.
2. Genomics. The Broad Institute.
3. DNA Genes and Chromosomes. virtual Genetics Education Centre, University of Leicester.
4. About the Human Genome Project. Human Genome Project Information Archive 1990-2003.
5. Human Genome Project produces many benefits. National Human Genome Research Institute.