In the postgenomics era, many scientists have shifted focus from determining DNA sequence to unraveling gene function. With the possibility of tailoring drugs to individuals, pharmacogenomics holds the promise of turning the prescription of drugs into a more exact science.

By analyzing patients' genetic profiles and their reactions to medication, the guesswork of trial-and-error prescriptions can be eliminated, providing for greater efficacy and safety. "Using molecular guidance and genetic markers will be pivotal towards tailoring therapy and getting better responses," says Arthur Holden, chairman of the SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) Consortium.

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) offers a grant for research into the mechanisms underlying individual variations in drug responses. "Understanding the genetic contribution to medication responses is vital to ultimately being able to prescribe the right drug at the right dose," says Rochelle Long, chief of pharmacological and physiological sciences at NIGMS. The funding opportunities...

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