The field of pharmacogenetics has been overhyped and is still more than a decade away from living up to its promise in clinical practice, largely due to shortages in researchers and lack of international coordination, according to a recent report from the UK's Royal Society.

"When the human genome was sequenced, I think that – not unreasonably – the press and some of the scientists themselves gave the impression it was going to change medicine practically overnight," says David Weatherall, chair of the working group that wrote the report. Overall, the report suggests that it will be another 15 to 20 years before the use of medicines tailored to individual genotypes is widespread. "Personalized medicines show promise but they have undoubtedly been overhyped," Weatherall says.

Ian Hall, from the University of Nottingham, disagrees, suggesting the impact of pharmacogenetics on clinical medicine would be felt more quickly. "I think that 10–15...

Interested in reading more?

Magaizne Cover

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?