Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

New Guide Aims to Ease Physicians into Using Genomics in the Clinic

Premium

Physicians are busy people. Anyone who's been stuck in a doctor's waiting room while he or she sees to other patients knows just how busy some doctors can get. So maybe it's not such a surprise that many medical professionals are somewhat resistant to the idea of taking time out of their schedules to learn about genetics, genomics, and how they can incorporate fairly recent scientific discoveries into their practices.

There has been much debate about how to turn genomic discoveries into clinical diagnostics and treatments, without forcing physicians to learn the science behind them from the ground up. That's where books like The Busy Physician's Guide to Genetics, Genomics, and Personalized Medicine come in. Written by Ohio State University's Kevin Sweet and Western Carolina University's Ron Michaelis, The Busy Physician's Guide aims to give doctors a background in genomic science that could get them thinking about ways to incorporate genomics into their practices.

This book's strength lies in recognizing that until physicians become comfortable with — and start adopting — genomic tests and treatments into their practices, the concept of personalized medicine will be naught but a catchphrase. "We truly believe that we have entered the age of genomics and personalized medicine, and … these revolutionary advances will ultimately improve health care in all fields of medicine," Sweet and Michaelis write in their preface. "We feel that we are at a time when there is lots of confusion ... regarding the benefits and limitations of the personalized medicine tests that are available today."

True to their intent, the authors have written a book that provides physicians with a "wide-ranging review" of current clinical genomics applications, as well as of some recent research that could inform future tests and treatments. Their writing style is simple without being oversimplified. Beginning with an explanation of genomic variability, and how such variation may explain varying disease susceptibility, all the way to how to make the most of a family history, what types of genetics tests are available and how to interpret the results, Sweet and Michaelis have constructed a reference text that edifies without overwhelming. They provide physicians with places to go to read and learn more about a given topic should they choose to.

For Genome Technology's December 2010/January 2011 issue, I reviewed Brandon Colby's Outsmart Your Genes, a book about medical genetics aimed at patients. At the time, I said that the book, though admirable in its intent to educate patients, became oversimplified, and that the author could have better served his intent by writing a book to get physicians thinking about using genetics in their practices. Now, The Busy Physician's Guide does just that.

The Scan

Unique Germline Variants Found Among Black Prostate Cancer Patients

Through an exome sequencing study appearing in JCO Precision Oncology, researchers have found unique pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants within a cohort of Black prostate cancer patients.

Analysis of Endogenous Parvoviral Elements Found Within Animal Genomes

Researchers at PLOS Biology have examined the coevolution of endogenous parvoviral elements and animal genomes to gain insight into using the viruses as gene therapy vectors.

Saliva Testing Can Reveal Mosaic CNVs Important in Intellectual Disability

An Australian team has compared the yield of chromosomal microarray testing of both blood and saliva samples for syndromic intellectual disability in the European Journal of Human Genetics.

Octopus Brain Complexity Linked to MicroRNA Expansions

Investigators saw microRNA gene expansions coinciding with complex brains when they analyzed certain cephalopod transcriptomes, as they report in Science Advances.