Genetic Medicine 101

Your DNA is What Makes You Unique

What is DNA?

You are made up of cells. Cells know what to do because of the DNA, your body’s instruction book, inside each cell. The instructions within sections of the DNA – called genes – build, maintain and regulate your body’s functions. The differences that each of us have in the structure of our genes are called variation. This variation makes each of us unique.

Thousands of genes are organized and packaged into units called chromosomes.  Humans have 23 chromosome pairs – one of each pair contains genetic information from your biological mother, the other from your biological father.

Learn About Genetic Medicine

Introduction to Genetics

Learn how the cells of your body organize genetic material and use sets of instructions contained in your DNA to carry out vital processes that keep your body healthy. These sets of instructions are called genes.

What are Genes?

Genes are instructions guiding development through building your body’s proteins. The differences, or variations, in our genes are part of what makes us each unique.

Importance of Family History

A complete family history is a powerful tool. It can help identify if you are at increased risk for certain conditions. By using your family history, genetic professionals can determine if some health concerns are more likely to be due to genetic factors or random incidents.

Frequently Asked Questions About Genetic Medicine & Testing

What is pharmacogenomics?

Finding the correct medication for your body is complicated. Many variables affect each person’s response to medication. And pharmacogenomics— the study of how heredity (genetics and identity) influences your drug response — may help your provider identify the best medication for you.

When you receive your results, please do not stop your medication(s) or make any medication changes before consulting with your provider first. A Sanford pharmacist will contact your provider regarding medication recommendations.

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What is precision medicine?

Precision medicine is an approach to disease management that takes into account a person’s environment, lifestyle and genes. At Sanford Health, we utilize precision medicine in clinical care through our physicians accessing information saved in a patient’s electronic medical record following genetic testing for use when prescribing medications or building a care plan.

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