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Keywords:

  • Genetics;
  • genomics;
  • next generation sequencing;
  • genome-wide association studies;
  • epigenomics;
  • gene expression;
  • nursing

Abstract

Purpose: To introduce current and emerging approaches that are being utilized in the field of genomics so the reader can conceptually evaluate the literature and appreciate how these approaches are advancing our understanding of health-related issues.

Organizing Construct: Each approach is described and includes information related to how it is advancing research, its potential clinical utility, exemplars of current uses, challenges related to technologies used for these approaches, and when appropriate information related to understanding the evidence base for clinical utilization of each approach is provided. Web-based resources are included for the reader who would like more in-depth information and to provide opportunity to stay up to date with these approaches and their utility.

Conclusions: The chosen approaches—genome sequencing, genome-wide association studies, epigenomics, and gene expression—are extremely valuable approaches for collecting research data to help us better understand the pathophysiology of a variety of health-related conditions, but they are also gaining in utility for clinical assessment and testing purposes.

Clinical Relevance: Our increased understanding of the molecular underpinnings of disease will assist with better development of screening tests, diagnostic tests, tests that allow us to prognosticate, tests that allow for individualized treatments, and tests to facilitate post-treatment surveillance.