Policy ForumGenomics

Deflating the Genomic Bubble

Science  18 Feb 2011:
Vol. 331, Issue 6019, pp. 861-862
DOI: 10.1126/science.1198039

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“Soccer is the sport of the future in America … and it always will be.” This oft-quoted epithet poking fun at the promise of the “beautiful game” in the United States can seem uncomfortably apt when applied to genomic medicine. It's now been 10 years since humans deciphered the digital code that defines us as a species. Although it may be hard to overestimate the significance of that achievement, it is easy to misconstrue its meaning and promise. People argue about whether mapping the human genome was worth the investment (13). With global funding for genomics approaching $3 billion/year (4), some wonder what became of all the genomic medicine we were promised (5). It thus seems an appropriate time to take stock of whence the real benefits from genomic research may come and how best to attain a future in which genomics improves human health.