While genetic studies may be able to fuel precision medicine, the fruits of these efforts may not be equitable, Vox reports.
It notes that the majority of genetic research has been done on individuals of white European backgrounds and that those findings may not be generalizable to individuals of other backgrounds. For instance, Vox notes that variants that contribute to risk of asthma among white children aren't the same as those that confer risk among African-American children, who are highly affected by the condition. If there were to be a test to predict and prevent asthma among children, it might then only benefit white children, it says, noting that such a test is hypothetical. This exclusion of people of color from medical genetic studies could further exacerbate healthcare disparities in the US, according to Vox.
It notes, though, that there are some efforts to boost the participation of underrepresented groups in genetic research, such as the US National Institutes of Health's All of Us research program. That effort aims to enroll one million Americans, including 500,000 individuals from racial and ethnic minorities
"You really can't have precision medicine for all of us if all of us don't participate and aren't reflected in the research and the studies," Dara Richardson-Heron, chief engagement officer for the All of Us program, tells Vox.