Human Biological Variation and the Application of Personalized Medicine




Horton, Katherine

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Multidisciplinary advances have progressed the idea that medical therapy may be tailored to the genetics of an individual patient through personalized medicine. The concepts of race, ethnicity, and ancestry have been utilized as ways to describe human biological variation. Race is not a biological classification system but rather a cultural construct that changes through time. The study of DNA sequence, expression of RNA, proteins and their derivatives, and DNA methylation contribute to this growing field. Certain medications are prescribed in a manner tailored to human genetic variation. The anticoagulant warfarin is viewed as a case study of an application of personalized medicine. Further research into the connection between the efficacy of treatments and the ancestry of population groups is needed. This study has examined the connection between the anthropological understanding of human biological variation and the application of personalized medicine with warfarin as a specific example.



Human biological variation., Personalized medicine.