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Genomics and public health 

Genomics and public health
Genomics and public health

Vural Özdemir

, Wylie Burke

, Muin J. Khoury

, Bartha M. Knoppers

, and Ron Zimmern

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date: 19 May 2022

This chapter addresses a previously neglected crucial question in twenty-first-century public health theory and practice: why do individuals and populations differ in their susceptibility to human diseases and response to health interventions? Rather than viewing populations as a homogenous construct, the chapter ‘unpacks’ this silent heterogeneity in population substructure based on the genomic make-up and genome-environment interactions. We provide examples as to why such a granular approach to understanding human populations is central to advances in twenty-first-century public health. In our current era marked by increasing tension between the centripetal force of homogenizing globalization and the centrifugal force of local identity, the chapter concludes with a horizon scanning on public health genomics, its bioethics dimension, as well as the nascent field of ethics of bioethics that is central in its accountable practice.

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