Publication date: Feb 12, 2020
In 1996, Walter Gilbert, a Nobel laureate, said, -The results of the Human Genome Project will produce a tremendous shift in the way we can do medicine and attack problems of human disease. “
The same year, President Bill Clinton stated the Human Genome Project would -revolutionize the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of most, if not all, human diseases. “
There are indeed individual gene mutations that cause devastating disorders, such as Huntington’s disease.
But most common debilitating diseases are not caused by a mutation of a single gene.
Instead, most common debilitating diseases are caused by combinations of mutations in many genes, each having a very small effect.
Since common serious diseases are rarely caused by single-gene mutations, they cannot be cured by replacing the mutated gene with a normal copy, the premise for gene therapy.
Gene therapy has gradually progressed in research along a very bumpy path, which has included accidentally causing leukemia and at least one death, but doctors recently have been successful treating some rare diseases in which a single-gene mutation has had a large effect.
Although you cannot bring your genome card to your next doctor’s appointment, perhaps you can bring a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between genes and disease.