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Genomics and You. “What is it and why now?”. Overview. Genetics vs. Genomics Misperceptions Applicability to public health Challenges. Genetics vs. Genomics. Genetics: study of single genes and their effects (cystic fibrosis) Genome: all the genetic material (DNA) of an organism.

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genomics and you

Genomics and You

“What is it and why now?”

  • Genetics vs. Genomics
  • Misperceptions
  • Applicability to public health
  • Challenges
genetics vs genomics
Genetics vs. Genomics
  • Genetics: study of single genes and their effects (cystic fibrosis)
  • Genome:all the genetic material (DNA) of an organism
genetics vs genomics4
Genetics vs. Genomics
  • Genomics:study of all the genes in the genome, including their interactions with environmental factors (heart disease, asthma)
  • “Genomics isn’t relevant to me or the area of public health in which I work”
  • Did you know that …

9 of the top 10 causes of death in the U.S. have a genetic component?

top 10 causes of death in the u s 2000
Top 10 Causes of Death in the U.S. (2000)
  • Heart Disease
  • Cancer
  • Cerebrovascular Disease
  • Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease
  • Accidents/Unintentional Injuries
  • Diabetes
  • Pneumonia/Influenza
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Kidney Disease
  • Septicemia
  • “Genetic susceptibility equals health destiny”
  • Diseases can be caused solely by genetics. However, most diseases are caused by gene-environment interactions
genetic susceptibility is not health destiny
Genetic Susceptibility is NOT Health Destiny

Genetics is just one piece of the “puzzle”

  • “There are no interventions based on genomics”

It’s true, we can’t change our genes. BUT we can use this knowledge to …

potential interventions
Potential Interventions
  • Modify screening and medical recommendations
    • More Frequent Screenings
    • Genetic Testing/Evaluation
    • Interventions or Prevention
potential interventions13
Potential Interventions
  • Modify exposure to environmental factors that may interact with known genetic susceptibilities
    • Pesticide Exposure
    • Genetic Screening for agricultural workers at high-risk
potential interventions14
Potential Interventions
  • Target messages and interventions aimed at changing behaviors of high-risk groups
    • Diet
    • Physical Activity
    • Smoking Cessation
    • Alcohol Avoidance
    • Others?
genomics and you15
Genomics and You
  • What are some examples of public health genomics?
  • Did any of these activities apply to you?
family history
Family History
  • Powerful tool that can identify genetic, behavioral, social, environmental, and cultural factors
should we wait
Should We Wait?
  • Direct-to-consumer marketing of BRCA genetic test
  • Genetic profiles for nutrition, drug response, osteoporosis, and heart disease
  • Genetic tests available for over 900 conditions
overcoming challenges
Overcoming Challenges
  • Potential discrimination in health insurance or employment
  • Access to genetic services for all populations

Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues (ELSI)

overcoming challenges19
Overcoming Challenges

Genomics won’t change the goals of public health. But it can be used as a tool to help target at-risk populations, through tailored messages and interventions.

genomics and you20
Genomics and You

“Genomics will be to the 21st century what infectious disease was to the 20th century … Genomics should be considered in every facet of public health: infectious disease, chronic disease, occupational health, environmental health, in addition to maternal and child health”

- “Gerard et al. Journal Law, Medicine, Ethics 2002; vol 30 (suppl): 173-176”

thank you
Thank You!
  • Questions or comments?
  • Contact Us
    • Chronic Disease Genomics Program
      • Rebecca Giles
      • Jenny Johnson
      • Jess Agraz