Kits and chips will routinely screen for the genetic implications of new drugs within the next 10 years, and therapeutics is becoming a science as opposed to an art. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will expect pharmaceutical companies to have molecular insights into how drugs work and how they are metabolized. Such data will reduce idiosyncratic reactions to drugs.

These were the opinions of panelists at a presentation called "Developing Prescriptions with a Personal Touch: The Human Genome and Medications," at the January meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Anaheim, Calif. Representing research and clinical medicine, the pharmaceutical industry, and the manufacturers of automated molecular analysis systems, the panelists provided their perspectives on pharmacogenetics, the inherited differences in the disposition and effects of medications and other xenobiotics.

"Combinatorial chemistry can screen lots of compounds, but we need more sophisticated serendipity," said William E. Evans...

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