Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

The next steps for genomic medicine: challenges and opportunities for the developing world

Abstract

This is a historical moment on the path to genomic medicine — the point at which theory is about to be translated into practice. We have previously described human genome variation studies taking place in Mexico, India, Thailand, and South Africa. Such investments into science and technology will enable these countries to embark on the path to the medical and health applications of genomics, and to benefit economically. Here we provide a perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing these and other countries in the developing world as they begin to harness genomics for the benefit of their populations.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1

    Cohen, R. The world is upside down. New York Times [online], (2008).

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Frew, S. E. et al. India's health biotech sector at a crossroads. Nature Biotechnol. 25, 403–417 (2007).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Frew, S. E. et al. Chinese health biotech and the billion-patient market. Nature Biotechnol. 26, 37–53 (2008).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Rezaie, R. et al. Brazilian health biotech — fostering crosstalk between public and private sectors. Nature Biotechnol. 26, 627–644 (2008).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Banji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka. Don't make a fetish out of R&D spending. SciDev.net [online], (2006).

  6. 6

    Goldsbrough, D., Adovor, E. & Elberger, D. What Has Happened to Health Spending and Fiscal Flexibility in Low Income Countries with IMF Programs? Center for Global Development [online], (2007).

    Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. How does the United States Compare? OECD Health Data 2008 [online], (2008).

  8. 8

    Decisions of the Executive Council. Eighth Ordinary Session 16–21 January 2006, Khartoum. African Union [online], (2006).

  9. 9

    Juma, C., Serageldin, I. Freedom to Innovate: Biotechnology in Africa's Development Report of the High-Level African Panel on Modern Biotechnology. African Ministerial Council on Science and Technology [online], (2007).

    Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Séguin, B., Hardy, B., Singer, P. A. & Daar, A. S. Genomics, public health, and developing countries: the case of the Mexican National Institute of Genomic Medicine (INMEGEN). Nature Rev. Genet. 9 (Suppl), S5–S9 (2008).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11

    Hardy, B., Séguin, B, Singer, P. A., Mukerji, M., Brahmachari, S. K. & Daar, A. S. From diversity to delivery: the case of the Indian Genome Variation initiative. Nature Rev. Genet. 9 (Suppl), S9–S14 (2008).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12

    Hardy, B., Séguin, B, Ramesar, R., Singer, P. A. & Daar, A. S. South Africa: from species cradle to genomic application. Nature Rev. Genet. 9 (Suppl), S19–S23 (2008).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13

    Séguin, B., Hardy, B., Singer, P. A. & Daar, A. S. Universal health care, genomic medicine and Thailand: investing in today and tomorrow. Nature Rev. Genet. 9 (Suppl), S14–S19 (2008).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14

    Jimenez-Sanchez, G., Silva-Zolezzi, I., Hidalgo-Miranda, A. & March, S. Genomic medicine in Mexico: initial steps and the road ahead. Genome Res. 18, 1191–1198 (2008).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15

    Sirugo, G. et al. A national DNA bank in The Gambia, West Africa, and genomic research in developing countries. Nature Genet. 36, 785–786 (2004).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16

    Sgaier, S. K. et al. Public health. Biobanks in developing countries: needs and feasibility. Science 318, 1074–1075 (2007).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17

    Matimba, A. et al. Establishment of a biobank and pharmacogenetics database of African populations. Eur. J. Hum. Genet. 16, 780–783 (2008).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18

    Ohnishi, Y. & Nakamura, Y. BioBank Japan project. Nippon Rinsho 63 (Suppl 12), 35–41 (2005).

  19. 19

    Palmer, L. J. UK Biobank: bank on it. Lancet 369, 1980–1982 (2007).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. 20

    Normile, D. Genetic diversity. Consortium hopes to map human history in Asia. Science 306, 1667 (2004).

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. 21

    [Editorial], Asia on the rise. Nature 447, 885 (2007).

  22. 22

    Osama, A. Opportunities and challenges in South–South collaboration. SciDev.net [online], (2008).

  23. 23

    Kelso, J. et al. eVOC: a controlled vocabulary for unifying gene expression data. Genome Res. 13, 1222–1230 (2003).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. 24

    Daar, A. S. et al. The future of TDR: it needs to find its place in a changed global health landscape. PLoS Negl. Trop. Dis. (in the press).

  25. 25

    Indian Genome Variation Consortium. Genetic landscape of the people of India: a canvas for disease gene exploration. J. Genet. 87, 3–20 (2008).

  26. 26

    Höhler, T. et al. Differential genetic determination of immune responsiveness to hepatitis B surface antigen and to hepatitis A virus: a vaccination study in twins. Lancet 360, 991–995 (2002).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. 27

    [No author listed]. India, China to step up cooperation in traditional medicine. The Economic Times, India [online], (2008).

  28. 28

    Jayaraman, K. S. Database targets Parsi genes. Nature 446, 475 (2007).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  29. 29

    International HapMap Consortium. A haplotype map of the human genome. Nature 437, 1299–1320 (2005).

  30. 30

    The International HapMap Consortium. The International HapMap Project. Nature 426, 789–796 (2003).

  31. 31

    Caulfield, T. et al. Research ethics recommendations for whole-genome research: consensus statement. PLoS Biol. 6, e73 (2008).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. 32

    Séguin, B., Hardy, B. J., Singer, P. A. & Daar, A. S. Genomic medicine and developing countries: creating a room of their own. Nature Rev. Genet. 9, 487–493 (2008).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. 33

    Knoppers, B. M., Fortier, I., Legault, D. & Burton, P. The Public Population Project in Genomics (P3G): a proof of concept? Eur. J. Hum. Genet. 16, 664–665 (2008).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  34. 34

    Ginsburg, G. S. Genomic medicine: 'grand challenges' in the translation of genomics to human health. Eur. J. Hum. Genet. 16, 873–874 (2008).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. 35

    European Science Foundation. Populations surveys and biobanking: ESF science policy briefing 32 [online], (2008).

  36. 36

    Goodsaid, F. & Frueh, F. W. Implementing the U.S. FDA guidance on pharmacogenomic data submissions. Environ. Mol. Mutagen. 48, 354–358 (2007).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  37. 37

    International Conference on Harmonisation. ICH Harmonised Tripartite Guideline Definitions For Genomic Biomarkers, Pharmacogenomics, Pharmacogenetics, Genomic Data And Sample Coding Categories E15. [online], (2007).

  38. 38

    Masum, H., Daar, A. D., Al-Bader, S., Shah, R. & Singer, P. A. Accelerating health product innovation in sub-Saharan Africa. Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization 2, 129–149 (2007).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

This project was funded by Genome Canada through the Ontario Genomics Institute. The Indian Council of Medical Research provided in kind co-funding for this research. The McLaughlin–Rotman Centre for Global Health, Program on Life Sciences, Ethics and Policy is primarily supported by Genome Canada through the Ontario Genomics Institute, the Ontario Research Fund, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Other matching partners are listed at The McLaughlin–Rotman Centre for Global Health web site. A.S.D. and P.A.S. are supported by the McLaughlin Centre for Molecular Medicine. P.A.S. is supported by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Distinguished Investigator award.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Abdallah S. Daar.

Related links

Related links

FURTHER INFORMATION

Al-Mulla molecular pathology laboratory, University of Kuwait

Avesthagen Ltd

Beijing Institute of Genomics, China

Emerging Regulatory Issues in Genomic Medicine conference overview

European Science Foundation

eVOC software program

Genome-based Research and Population Health International Network (GRaPH-Int)

Human Genome Diversity Project of Iran (HGDPI)

International Conference on Harmonization (ICH)

McLaughlin–Rotman Centre for Global Health

National Institute for Genomic Medicine (INMEGEN), Mexico

Pharmacogenetics for Every Nation Initiative (PGENI)

South African National Bioinformatics Institute (SANBI)

The Public Population Project in Genomics (P3G)

UK Biobank

US National Office of Public Health Genomics

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Hardy, BJ., Séguin, B., Goodsaid, F. et al. The next steps for genomic medicine: challenges and opportunities for the developing world. Nat Rev Genet 9, S23–S27 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrg2444

Download citation

Further reading

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing