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Books, Journals, New Media
December 20, 2000

Genetics Education: The Implications of Genetics for Health Professional Education

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorDavid H.MorseMS, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


Not Available

JAMA. 2000;284(23):3061-3062. doi:10.1001/jama.284.23.3061-JBK1220-3-1

If prediction of an individual's risk of future disease depended simply on the use of an inexpensive microchip encoded with genetic information, as suggested in the introduction to the conference reviewed herein and echoed in many of the essays, then genetic education for health professionals would be a relatively simple matter: health care practitioners would have access to computerized information on the individual's genetic risks and what could be done to reduce them. But, as Barton Childs points out in a brilliant essay, which alone justifies obtaining the book, why an individual gets a particular disease at a particular time depends not only on her or his genotype, but on "the particular experiences that have contributed and their impact through development and over the years. . . ." Blips on chips cannot tell the practitioner what these experiences are. Indeed, as Childs points out, "We need, in addition to the project that is enumerating genes, an epidemiological-genetic project of similar scope, power and glamor to canvass the environment for the experiences that bring genetic vulnerability to overt disease, and in whom that prospect is likely."