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July 11, 2007

The Genomics Gold Rush

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Scripps Genomic Medicine, Scripps Health, and The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California.

JAMA. 2007;298(2):218-221. doi:10.1001/jama.298.2.218

In recent weeks there has been an unprecedented chain of discoveries in the genomics of complex traits.1-14 The studies identified DNA markers associated with susceptibility to many of the most common diseases, ranging from acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most important pediatric cancer, to obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and coronary heart disease, which collectively affect nearly a billion individuals worldwide. The breakneck pace of discovery will be continuing in the months ahead, with anticipated findings for many cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and neurological diseases. In aggregate, these studies have the potential to radically change medicine. This Commentary is intended to provide perspective for the medical community, to understand the limitations of the work that has thus far been completed, and to outline the challenges that lie ahead.