The Holistic Genome

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The low hanging fruit in the garden of good and evil.

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low hanging fruit

low hanging fruit

I have been told that cancer genetics is the ‘low hanging fruit’ of personalized medicine. 

I have my reservations about this analogy.  As you all know, I am a big proponent of personalized medicine.  And I also remain optimistic that personalized medicine will be a fruitful and rewarding endeavor.  However, part of me is concerned that we are like ants picking away at the fruit of the tree of life.  This sacred tree that hold the source code of life, that which holds our very identity… that which make us unique.  Perhaps we should be more mindful of our actions and how we conduct ourselves during this technological adolescence.  Sometimes, I think that the Genomic era is much like a modern day Gold Rush with everyone climbing over each other in a mad dash to stack their claim to the bounty. 

By seeking the true knowledge of ourselves within our DNA, we seek a deeper understanding of ourselves and our place in the Universe, both from a Darwinian as well as a spiritual viewpoint.  To this end, we should remind ourselves to walk uprightly, square our actions and walk confidently in this garden of good and evil motivated by the search of truth and not by material gain.       


Written by Jonathan Holt, DO

April 20, 2009 at 11:44 am

primum non nocere

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primum non nocereBeing back at the Burrill’s Personalized Medicine Conference in San Francisco again this year has rekindled my passion to start a blog.  As, I have now a growing medical practice I have been encouraged to start blogging again by a number of people in attendance, including Steve Murphy, David Ewing Duncan and Aaron Rowe.

One of the things that really jumped out at me this year, was the need to prioritize our approach to Personalized Medicine.  I think that we at doing much better at defining what it means and I think that the next logical step is to decide what to do first.

Thus, I am guided by the foundation of my medical training.  During my first year of medical school, all medical student go thru the white coat ceremony and make an oath to the art of medicine.  Included in this oath, is the dictum “primum non nocere”  or “First, do no harm”.

Did you know that in the United States that are about 100,000 deaths every year as a result of medical errors?

While Steve Burrill defined the priority of Personalized Medicine as given the right drug, to the right patient at the right time, I believe that our first priority in the medical community should be to start defining the WRONG DRUG to the WRONG PATIENT at the WRONG TIME.

Ergo, my research priority is in the pharmacogenomics of adverse drug reactions, both serious and mild.

Written by Jonathan Holt, DO

November 13, 2008 at 12:27 am