The Stanford School of Medicine will offer an elective course this summer in which medical and graduate students will have the opportunity to have their own personal genotyping done, and then use the data to understand the benefits and limitations of such testing. As far as school officials know, Stanford is the first medical school to offer such a course:
“Over decades, Stanford scientists have contributed substantially to our understanding of the human genome, and now the potential clinical implications of these discoveries are being investigated,” said Charles Prober, MD, the school’s senior associate dean for medical education. “It is critical for our students to develop a deep, rich understanding of the hope and the limitations of personal genomics. We are in the perfect place and at the perfect time for this type of educational approach.”
Stanford’s decision to offer the course during an uproar over the propriety of genetic testing for college students. In May, the University of California announced plans to ask incoming first-year students to be tested for genes linked to the ability to metabolize alcohol, lactose and folic acid, with the goal of spurring discussion about the evolving world of medicine and genetics. At Stanford, the testing will assess a broader number of genes but will be limited to medical and graduate students who enroll in the course and elect to be genotyped.
You can read more about the elective class in the School of Medicine’s news release.