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January 22, 2001

Genomic Medicine and the Individual Patient—Byte to Bedside: A Call for Papers

Arch Intern Med. 2001;161(2):151. doi:10.1001/archinte.161.2.151

Why should any particular person be singled out to suffer a particular disease? Patients ask, "Why me?" and the up-to-the-minute answer is provided by the media, usually with pontifical certainty and authority, "It's in your genes." And there is some truth in it.1

DESPITE THE current excitement and hubbub surrounding the mapping of the human genome, the typical busy clinician heading for the examination room is probably not thinking much about the role of genetics in the patient's problem. The clinical relevance of the Human Genome Project2,3 is evolving but far from being established. However, it seems likely that the rapid accumulation of data on gene function will result in new approaches to patient care both incrementally (eg, diagnostic testing) and globally by "modifying medical thinking."1 Of course, genetic testing is already central to the evaluation of some conditions, such as BRCA-related breast cancer.4

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