Conference Examines Connections Among Genetics, Race, Health
KQED's "The California Report" on Friday included an interview with Raymond Rodriguez, professor of molecular and cellular biology at the University of California-Davis and director of the Center of Excellence for Nutritional Genomics, about a national conference held in Oakland over the weekend examining the connections between genetics, race and health.
Rodriguez said that reducing health disparities was one of the primary topics of the conference, titled "Genomics, Race and Health Disparities" and hosted by the center and the NIH Pharmacogenetics Research Network. Minorities and low-income individuals tend to experience "a higher frequency of diseases with earlier onset, greater severity and respond poorly to drugs," Rodriguez said, adding that a better understanding of genomics will allow providers to diagnose problems earlier and more accurately prescribe medications for minority patients to assist in disease management.
According to Rodriguez, a "key" topic for future research is how genetics are affected by environment, diet and culture. "Now we realize that not only are there gene and disease interactions, but those interactions are highly influenced by the environment ... all of those are affecting the way our genes interact with drugs and nutrients," Rodriguez said (Shafer, "The California Report," KQED, 8/18).
The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.