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Understanding Genetic Diversity Critical To Preventing Diseases, Improving Global Health

Orlando Sentinel: Commentary: Understanding genetics key to improving global health
Nancy J. Cox, past president of the American Society of Human Genetics

“…[D]iversity of the human experience and our gene pool is not a liability but a strength to mine as we explore new genetic treatments for disease. If we are to embrace the benefits of genetic diversity, we also must insist that we mirror the genetic variation that exists among humans by ensuring diversity among research participants. This helps ensure fair and equitable benefit from research findings. Without pursuing an understanding of how genetic variation and the environments we create and live in combine to impact health and disease, it will be impossible to respond optimally to treat and ultimately prevent infectious diseases like Zika, as well as chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer. That is something that can and should unite us worldwide” (2/8).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.