Public health in the age of genomics, ‘Big Data’ and massively collaborative global science

Authored by: Vural Özdemir

Routledge Handbook of Global Public Health in Asia

Print publication date:  April  2014
Online publication date:  April  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415643825
eBook ISBN: 9781315818719
Adobe ISBN: 9781317817703


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Until recently, public health and genomics have rarely come together although both have long aimed to improve population health. The emerging field of public health genomics represents this much-needed convergence. This new subspecialty of twenty-first-century public health is hybrid in its composition, made up of knowledge strands from public health and genomics sciences, and is defined as ‘the responsible and effective translation of genome-based knowledge for the benefit of population health’ [1]. This consensus definition was reached at an international meeting held in Bellagio, Italy, in 2005. Rather than viewing populations as a homogenous entity, public health genomics firmly recognizes the hitherto silent heterogeneity in population substructure as rooted in genomics and genome-environment interactions. Described in another way, public health genomics is an invitation to rethink the current efforts for stratified medicine in the broader context of populations.

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