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Treating genetic disorders: challenges and recommendations

Rajesh Behl


Abstract

The unravelling of the entire genetic sequence of humans and, more recently, of important pathogens such as the causative agents of tuberculosis and malaria are landmark events in science. This is just a beginning in improving our understanding of biology and disease. The tools and techniques for genomic research are costly and the full benefits are not easy to quantify, nor is it easy to predict possible misuse of this new information. Although Genomics as a science goes beyond genetic disorders, genetic diseases are an important component. India can learn a lot from its experience with genetic diseases, both in terms of our attempts towards research in this area and efforts to care for patients with genetic disorders. This may help guide our approach in the ‘post-genomic era’. I will outline some of the challenges that physicians in India may face, taking the example of beta-thalassaemia, a relatively common genetic disorder.

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