Tame the hype: Is medical genetics plagued by unfilled promises?


Recently, I read an article promising that medical genetics will…make medicine predictive and personalized through detailed knowledge of the patient’s genome.

The thing is, the article is from 1940…Looking back, we knew almost exactly nothing about the genetic mechanisms of human disease.

While inflated medical promises are hardly peculiar to molecular medicine, that field does seem particularly prone to breathless rhetoric.

Bluster, overstatement and aspirations masquerading as hard targets have no single cause. One reason, surely, is the heady sense of impending omnipotence that accompanies major technological and scientific advances. Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection, the cracking of the genetic code, [and] CRISPR – all were followed by grandiose claims of the imminent total control over life’s fundamental processes.

Every generation of scientists looks back and shakes its collective head in condescending disbelief at how little the previous generation knew, rarely stopping to reflect that the next generation will do the same.

It’s time to push back. One way is to hold scientists, philanthropists and the press accountable…[We should fund] science liberally, but reward knowledge more than market value. Encourage science literacy, not just cheer-leading. And teach skepticism of technology, medicine and the media.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Genetic research: A money laundering business or a gateway to miracles?