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February 23, 1963

Pharmacogenetics; heredity and the response to drugs.

JAMA. 1963;183(8):719. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03700080127047

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Abstract

The well-known variations in drug response in a heterogeneous population such as man occur because of the many genetic and environmental factors which constitute individuality. Put another way, each person's genetic makeup determines, in large measure, how he reacts to environmental factors— including drugs. As a timely example, it has been estimated that only about 20% of babies born to women who had taken thalidomide during the critical fourth to eighth weeks of pregnancy developed limb malformations. It thus seems logical to hypothesize that the teratogenic effect of the drug could only have developed in genetically susceptible women.

While not discussing thalidomide per se, this book attempts to offer explanations for similar drug-response variations, both in man and in lower animals. Written by a pharmacologist, it brings together under one cover a wealth of widely-scattered information from biochemistry, pharmacology, genetics, and medicine dealing with drug response. Included are chapters on

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