Post-genome integrative biology: so that's what they call clinical science

Clin Med (Lond). Sep-Oct 2001;1(5):393-400. doi: 10.7861/clinmedicine.1-5-393.


Medical science is increasingly dominated by slogans, a characteristic reflecting its growing bureaucratic and corporate structure. Chief amongst these slogans is the idea that genomics will transform the public health. I believe this view is mistaken. Using studies of the genetics of skin cancer and the genetics of skin pigmentation, I describe how recent discoveries have contributed to our understanding of these topics and of human evolution. I contrast these discoveries with insights gained from other approaches, particularly those based on clinical studies. The 'IKEA model of medical advance'--you just do the basic science in the laboratory and self-assemble in the clinic--is not only damaging to clinical advance, but reflects a widespread ignorance about the nature of disease and how clinical discovery arises. We need to think more about disease and less about genes; more in the clinic and less in the laboratory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Biological Science Disciplines / trends*
  • Environment
  • Gene Expression / genetics
  • Genes, p53 / genetics
  • Genomics / trends*
  • Hair Color / genetics
  • Humans
  • Point Mutation / genetics
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology