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Learning more about the human genome

In an article today, USA Today's Steve Sternberg discusses scientific advances made since the 2000 completion of the first draft of the human genome. He also highlights one of Stanford's new genetics courses, which gives medical students the opportunity to have their own personal genotyping done, and then use the data to understand the benefits and limitations of such testing:

"The students will learn troubling things," says Stanford geneticist Stuart Kim, the class's faculty sponsor. "You will learn that you have a predisposition for lots of different diseases. Some may learn that their ancestors aren't who they thought they were, that their father isn't their real father."

Heavy stuff, right? As my colleague recently wrote, the medical school approved the elective course (after addresssing ethical and other concerns surrounding the testing) in order to give students a "deep, rich understanding of the hope and the limitations of personal genomics." More from our release:

[Course director and sixth-year MD/PhD student Keyan] Salari and Kim feel that, beyond what the students learn about their own genetic data, the course will prove invaluable to them in their future roles as physicians and scientists.

“These tests are already available to the lay public,” Salari said. “Many people look to medical professionals for authoritative health advice. We need doctors and researchers who are knowledgeable about the benefits, limitations and interpretation of personal genome testing..."

Previously: Genotype testing for medical, graduate students

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