Introduction

Pharmacogenetics refers to the study of genetic influences on an individual’s response to drugs. In pharmacogenetics, the analysis of a specific gene, or group of genes, may be used to predict responses to a specific drug or class of drugs.

Pharmacogenomics refers collectively to all the genes that influence drug responses, and how genome-wide analysis may be used to identify such genes in the search for novel drug targets and/or key determinants of drug reactions.

The effects of a specific dose of a specific drug will differ between individual recipients. A drug that is effective in one person may have no discernible therapeutic effect in another, whilst a third might show a partial response; in some, there may be undesirable side-effects.

There are multiple contributory factors to such variation in drug response, such as gender, age, body mass, diet, the presence of other drugs or of particular disease states and exposure to certain chemicals or toxins, such as cigarette smoke. In addition to these, genetic factors also influence drug response.

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