Decoding of Genome Fails to Yield Promised Cures

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2009 9:36 PM CDT
Scientists say the decoding of the human genome hasn't yielded the expected medical breakthroughs.   (Shutter Stock)

(Newser) – The promised age of unlocking the mystery of common diseases through DNA appears to have a hit a disappointing roadblock, the New York Times reports. As a result, companies that bill people to provide a personal genomic profile—and theoretically warn them of their risk to illness—are practicing nothing more than "recreational genomics," a geneticist tells the Times. “The information has little or in many cases no clinical relevance.”

In a series of essays in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Duke geneticist and others in the field wrestle with the disappointing reality—that the decoding of the human genome in 2003 has done relatively little to explain genetic links to most diseases. The essays appear to be the first public attempt to deal with the problem and debate whether the current strategy—called genomewide association study—needs to be scrapped or revised, the Times notes.