Unlike genetics, which primarily focuses on our genes (just 2% of our DNA), genomics is the study of genome: the genes and all the DNA in between. This genomic information can help to diagnose a condition, determine the chance of developing a condition in later life, or even inform the correct type of treatment.
There is still a lot we don’t know about the genome, but new technology and the NHS Genomic Medicine Service is bringing about even more insights and understanding to improve patient outcomes.
By becoming a tool in routine healthcare, genomics is likely to be encountered by a variety of healthcare professionals outside of specialist services and, as such, all nurses will need to have a working understanding of what this means for their practice and implications for patients. How much knowledge is needed will depend on roles, clinical duties and the area of specialism.