It’s in the Genes. But How Many Genes?

This is from an op-ed piece in Sunday's New York Times.

Despite the hype, the era of personal medicine – where your treatment is tailored for your genes – remains frustratingly far away.

We know what gene causes red hair.  And we are honing in on the gene that causes blue eyes.  But,

Consider height. This trait has a strong genetic component: we know that as much as 90 percent of the difference in height between you and me is because of differences in our genes. (The rest is because of differences in things like nutrition.) One recent study, which looked at more than 30,000 people, found 20 genes that influence height. But together, these 20 genes accounted for just 3 percent of the variation. That leaves a whopping 87 percent still to be accounted for.

Granted, we've found the gene that causes sickle cell anemia and the one that causes Huntington's disease.  But diabetes is more like height.  It may be produced by the interaction of huge numbers of genes.

Comments (2)

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  1. Joe S. says:

    This implies that designer medicine — where the treatment regime is tailored just for your genetic makeup — is like to be far more expensive than previously thought.

    That in turn implies that this type of research is likely to raise future haelth care costs rather than lower them.

  2. Nevena Puhova says:

    I read almost all, but I shall comment only a few things- the modern deseases and why doctors fail in their treatment ?

    The last figure points that 30 per cent of children on 10 -11 are already obese.

    How they will look like on 20 ,,30, 40 50 and more ?
    Can we imagine it ?
    I can as thout I saw them:

    Twenty years old like an diseable in hospital,or in a private nursing home- hoisted, bed rest living with a proper care plan after risk assessment of his phisical and mental status.

    In UK that care costs £465 a week in a private residential home,

    That include only primary care .No medecens.Why ?Gess !
    Because nobody knows where the obesity come from and how to stop or treat it .
    It is a gland disorder, running from the earliest age,
    We joy looking how sweety the kid eating everything that want.Never stop it or restrict it.When we decide to do that it provesit is too late.So , no sence …

    To reduce fats on hunger is auful crully !And they can not be better,

    Because the cell circulation and the energy balance of the organism are wrong.But they got wrong couse of the glands disorder.

    If some of the main brain glands work badly, it compromise all organic methabolism,
    And Oh a miracle !
    It starts some degenerative procecings of cell dead in the corp.People die in their body.

    What is interesting is that the average food that we used to take , becomes poisoned for the organism, but we do not know.

    Then for examp;e the microelement Fe stores itself free in the cells without the exact ensims and hormons which have to upgrediate it.
    But the doctors find out an anemy in this patient.And prescribe him more and more Fe tablets !