What Is Genomics?

By Michele C. Hollow @YourCareE
June 26, 2023
What Is Genomics?

To understand what makes you unique, look at your genetic code. Knowing your genomics can help doctors make an early diagnosis and better manage your health.


Genetics, or the study of heredity, is what makes you different from everyone else. Your eyes may be brown, while your friend’s eyes are blue. You’re unique because of your genes. Yet all people are 99.9 percent identical in genetic makeup. Only 0.1 percent of your genetic makeup differs, and that holds important clues about the causes of diseases.


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Genetics studies the function and composition of a single gene; genomics looks at all of your genes and how they interact and function. That complete set, or DNA sequence, is called a genome. Genomics also includes the scientific study of a wide array of diseases.

It gives doctors many possibilities for therapies and treatments of complex illnesses. James Watson, PhD, an American molecular biologist, geneticist, and zoologist, best known as one of the discoverers of the structure of DNA, stated that the completed map of the human genome would serve as the official instruction book for human life. According to Watson and other geneticists, genomics provides scientists with vital information about genetic diseases and traits.

Watson and others believe that genomics will allow doctors to attack the genetic roots of diseases like Alzheimer's, diabetes, and cancer and cure them. Understanding how genes affect diseases leads to new treatments.

Genomics also looks at environmental factors and behaviors. Scientists are using genomics to unlock the reasons why someone who smokes their entire life and doesn’t exercise lives to age 90, while someone who eats a healthy diet and spends their spare time at the gym develops heart disease.

Barry Schuler, managing director for DFJ Growth and the former chair and CEO of America Online, asked at a TED Talk, “Why does a cell go from a normal cell to one with cancer? What is the code? What are the exact instructions that are making it do that? Once we know then you can go about the process and try to fix it and figure it out.”



Schuler said scientists will be able to cure disease once they’re able to understand how illness works at the genomic level.

The benefits are huge. The experts say genomics will:

  • Improve diagnosis
  • Allow doctors to detect illness at an earlier stage
  • Know if someone has a predisposition to a specific illness
  • Let scientists create new medications
  • Perfect gene therapy, a growing field of medicine in which genes are introduced into the body to fight disease
  • Boost pharmacogenomics and gene therapy, enabling scientists to create safe and effective drugs that are tailored to an individual’s genetic makeup


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June 26, 2023

Reviewed By:  

Christopher Nystuen, MD, MBA