News FocusHuman Genome 10th Anniversary

Waiting for the Revolution

Science  04 Feb 2011:
Vol. 331, Issue 6017, pp. 526-529
DOI: 10.1126/science.331.6017.526

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Summary

Medical schools and research centers are investing tens of millions of dollars each to join the genomic medicine bandwagon. Yet some say this is a huge leap into uncharted clinical territory. Most doctors have not embraced the genomic revolution, according to leaders of medical professional groups, because they have trouble seeing how it will benefit their patients. DNA testing is growing rapidly in oncology to guide the treatment of some cancers and in screening couples before conception and newborns to find dangerous mutations, and many labs are developing therapies to narrowly target tumor DNA. But aside from these situations, applications are scant; most public health reviews of DNA-based approaches have not found a health benefit. As doctors and scientists look back over the decade since the human genome was published, some are asking tough questions. Is the translation of DNA research into medical practice taking longer than expected? Has the genomic medicine revolution faltered?

This News story and another on gene patents (p. 530) launch a series of features this month commemorating the 10th anniversary of Science's and Nature's publications of the human genome, which are gathered here.