Photo by Ousa Chea on Unsplash

We are currently undergoing a major transition in the STEM field of genomic research.  While some people may look at the word genomes and immediately think genetics there is a difference.  According to WHO, “The main difference between genomics and genetics is that genetics scrutinizes the functioning and composition of the single gene where as genomics addresses all genes and their inter relationships in order to identify their combined influence on the growth and development of the organism.”

Identifying their combined influence is key in today’s scientific market.  What doctors around the world are now learning pertains to the importance of ethnic diversity in clinical trial research.  “Human genomic databases—collections of all the genetic information that has been sequenced over the years—are” heavily skewed to people of European descent, making it harder to correctly diagnose medical issues for non-Europeans. 

According to Scientific American, “The community has learned that there are far more of these larger, so-called structural variations than expected. These are now known to cause genetic disease and impact the way drugs are metabolized by individuals and ethnic populations.”

Due to this revelation, there is now a push to include more minorities in clinical trials.  The necessity of this is at an all time high as.  An example of specific medical issues effecting a specific ethnic group can be seen in the Korean genome project which “found a population-specific variant in a gene that regulates how some medications are metabolized by the body; this is essential information for dosing and for gauging the likelihood that a patient will respond to a particular therapy.”

The National Institutes of Health is currently pushing forward with an effort called “All of Us” which “aims to sequence a diverse sampling of Americans across gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity and race. Being inclusive is an essential goal of this program, and participation is free so as to open the doors to anyone who wants to join.”

Understanding more genomic data is essential to correctly diagnosing future medical issues and a must for minorities, who are underrepresented within these databases.