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Convince Him

While many of his colleagues are diving into genome sequencing and personalized medicine, the Mayo Clinic's Michael Joyner is not as convinced that such approaches will have a meaningful effect on people's health, NPR reports.

Joyner argues that people's lifestyles — such as how much exercise they get — has a greater effect on their body-mass index than their genetics does. Additionally, he notes that among cancer patients given targeted therapies, their tumors often eventually find a way to evade the treatments.

He notes there is a place for genome sequencing in medicine, especially for diagnosing rare diseases, for other conditions he says the information it provides might not be as helpful as anticipated. "One of the things we have to ask ourselves when we get these big initiatives is, 'What's the definition of success?'" he tells NPR.

NPR adds that his Mayo colleagues don't agree. "I really do believe that understanding our genome is fundamental," Julie Cunningham, one of the three co-directors of Medical Genome Facility, says.

The director of its Center for Individualized Medicine, Keith Stewart, adds that while he thinks sequencing will be beneficial, he notes that researchers have to prove it.