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WHY ARE PHARMACOGENETICS IMPORTANT? DNA AND GENES

Updated: Apr 10, 2022

Genes are the instructions written in our DNA that help us build protein molecules. Different people can have different versions of the same genes, with different DNA sequences. Some of these sequence variants are more common, others more rare, and some are linked to the cause of certain diseases. Certain proteins can also affect how drugs work with the body.



Correlation to Pharmacogenomics What do the DNA sequences and proteins have to do with pharmacogenomics? Pharmacogenomic tools can look at variations in the genes for the proteins that affect drug risks. Sometimes proteins can chemically affect how drugs work, these chemical changes can make the drug more or less active in the body. For example, one liver enzyme called CYP2D6 acts on ¼ of all prescription drugs. It converts the painkiller codeine into an active form, morphine. There are over 160 different variations of the CYP2D6 gene, and some affect how your body responds to drugs. If someone with too many CYP2D6 enzymes, their body would process a drug, like codeine, way too fast. This could mean that their body could convert the codeine into morphine so quickly that a standard dose could turn into an overdose. Sometimes there are variations that make the liver process drugs too slow, which could lead to little, if any relief, for a patient. Pharmacogenomics can help doctors understand these variants and prescribe the right kind and amount of drugs to someone based on their specific genetic code.


By Duponte Group

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