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The future of genetics is dependent upon a robust research program. Invest in the future by helping to provide critical resources for genetics research.

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Members of our Medical Genetics faculty conduct research in most areas of human and medical genetics and modern molecular biology. We work in a wide range of settings within the University of Washington, the Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care SystemSeattle Children's Research Institute, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center.

Our faculty and affiliates include one Nobel laureate, fifteen diplomates of the American Board of Medical Genetics, seven members of the National Academy of Sciences, and three members of the National Academy of Medicine.

Research areas

Basic Molecular Genetics and Developmental Genetics

Molecular genetics is the field of biology that studies the structure and function of genes at a molecular level. The study of chromosomes and gene expression of an organism can give insight into heredity, genetic variation, and mutations. This is useful in the study of developmental biology and in understanding and treating genetic diseases.

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Biochemical Genetics

Biochemical genetics involves diagnosing and treating metabolic diseases. These are problems with how the body makes, breaks down or uses proteins, fats or carbohydrates.  These diseases are called inborn errors of metabolism.

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Cancer Genetics

Cancer genetics is the study of heritable gene variants that contribute to cancer susceptibility and progression. 

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Clinical Genetics

Clinical Genetics is the medical specialty which involves the study, counselling and treatment of individuals and families with, or at risk of, conditions which may have a genetic basis.

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Gene Therapy

Gene therapy is an experimental technique that uses genes to treat or prevent disease. In the future, this technique may allow doctors to treat a disorder by inserting a gene into a patient's cells instead of using drugs or surgery.

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Genetic Epidemiology and Analytic Methods

Genetic epidemiology seeks to derive a statistical and quantitative analysis of how genetics work in large groups, and how genes interplay with environmental factors.

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Genetics of Aging

Genetics of aging is generally concerned with life extension associated with genetic alterations, rather than with accelerated aging diseases leading to reduction in lifespan.  The genetic theory of aging states that lifespan is largely determined by the genes we inherit.

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Genome Research

The genome includes both the genes and the non-coding sequences of the DNA/RNA.  Research in this field encompass a broad range of studies aimed at understanding the structure and function of the human genome and its role in health and disease.

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Human Molecular and Developmental Genetics

Human Molecular Genetics is the study of the molecular basis of human genetic disease, chromosome structure and function, and understanding of genome organization.

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Neurogenetics studies the role of genetics in the development and function of the nervous system.  It draws aspects from both the studies of neuroscience and genetics, focusing in particular how the genetic code an organism carries affects its expressed traits. 

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Pharmacogenetics and Ecogenetics

Pharmacogenomics is the study of how genes affect a person’s response to drugs. This relatively new field combines pharmacology (the science of drugs) and genomics (the study of genes and their functions) to develop effective, safe medications and doses that will be tailored to a person’s genetic makeup. Ecogenetics is a branch of genetics that studies genetic traits related to the response to environmental substance.

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