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Genetics

  • By: Celeste M. Condit
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

In 2012, almost 50 years after the discovery of the structure of DNA, the U.S. government's effort to map the entire sequence of the human genome, the Human Genome Project (HGP), was completed. The research effort enabled substantial gains in scientific understandings of how organisms develop and function, but to date the medical applications remain modest. Although understandings based in genetics may eventually contribute to new medicines and health behavior interventions, the hope for widespread direct utility in common life-threatening diseases seems to have substantially dimmed, in part because post-HGP studies revealed that most such disease was associated with multiple alleles (versions of genes), each of which made small contributions to illness, rather than to a few alleles that have high impact for relatively large ...

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