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January 30, 2008

The Genetics Revolution and Primary Care Pediatrics

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Pediatrics (Drs Cheng and Dover), and McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine (Dr Cohn), Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland.

JAMA. 2008;299(4):451-453. doi:10.1001/jama.299.4.451

Spontaneously and gradually, a synthesis of genetic and medical ideas—or perhaps a “geneticization” of medical thought—is now beginning.—Barton Childs, MD1

Since the draft sequencing of the human genome,2,3 the opportunity to use this information in the care of individual patients has gained enormous interest among health professionals and the public.4,5 Exploring a person's genome will enable clinicians to characterize health and disease states by molecular fingerprints, elucidate mechanistic pathways, and develop new preventive, diagnostic, and therapeutic strategies. To realize the promise of genetic medicine, however, requires education of clinicians and the public together with pragmatic decision making in application to daily patient care. Leadership, planning, and structure are necessary to transform health care into this new era.

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