Why personalized medicine will fail if we stay the course

Per Med. 2012 Nov;9(8):839-847. doi: 10.2217/pme.12.100.


Genomic science and associated technologies are providing scientists and clinicians with novel insights that are transforming the delivery of healthcare and the overall well-being of society. However, these insights inform us that historical population sampling approaches for investigating rare and common genetic variations are not representative of the complex ancestral backgrounds of today's patients. In order for personalized medicine to be meaningful and applicable to the global populations, we will need to know how common and rare genetic variants found in different parts of the world influence health and drug response. This article demonstrates the importance of increasing ethnic and racial diversity among participants in genomic research, highlights areas of opportunity for improving our understanding of genomic diversity among populations, and provides examples of successful models that help to resolve these concerns.

Keywords: diversity; ethnicity; genomic medicine; global populations; personalized medicine.