Matt McGue. (2013). Genomics and the Nature of Behavioral and Social Risk. American Journal of Public Health. e-View Ahead of Print.
Accepted on: Jun 18, 2013
Genomics and the Nature of Behavioral and Social Risk
Matt McGue, PhD
The author is with the Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and with the Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.
In 1999, Francis Collins, then head of the Human Genome Project, used the occasion of the Shattuck Lecture to speculate about the impact sequencing of the human genome would have on medical practice.1 He envisioned the availability of genome-level data that would transform clinical risk assessment and prevention practices, ushering in a new era of genetically informed personalized medicine. The Human Genome Project has had a profound impact on our understanding of the structure and function of the human genome, the nature of genetic variation, and the basis of Mendelian disease. It has, however, had a much more limited impact on our ability to detect and prevent the manifestation of genetic risk for common inherited disorders such as cardiovascular disease, dementia, obesity, diabetes, and all of the psychiatric disorders. Yet despite limited progress, there is much reason to be optimistic. Genetic epidemiologists are identifying the genetic variants underlying common disease; model organisms are being used to map pathophysiological mechanisms at the molecular level; and we are beginning to understand how genetic risk can be modulated by environmental factors ranging from the molecular to the cultural. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print August 8, 2013: e1–e3. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301527)