Dr. Eric Green, head of the National Human Genome Research Institute, is now on the stage…explaining how “genomics is becoming increasingly relevant to the patient.” He says this discipline is a marathon, that began 13 years ago with the initial mapping of the human genome. Now he talks of “base pairs to bedside” or “double helix to health”…and points to the strategic plan for his institute, published in 2011. He is now outlining advancements in our understanding of the genome, it’s biology, how it impacts human biology and then how it can impact medical practice. Finally, he says, we must measure and demonstrate how genomics improves health care.
He also says we’ve learned much in the last decade, including the epigenomic code — the impact of proteins on our genetic behavior based on environmental influences. He is essentially setting the stage for what will come later in the conference — all of the knowledge thus far, he says, is a “Cliff Notes” version of the human genome and we have a lot more to learn — including the differences in individual human genomes.