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The basics of Genetics for Medical Writers

Medical Science
Workshop profile:
This workshop will give a basic understanding of genetic principles to any writer who may need to understand or write about pharmacogenetics or genomics, or with an interest or curiosity in the field. It will also be useful revision for anyone who has not been involved in the area for some time. No prior knowledge is necessary. Participants may find this a useful preparatory workshop for MSF4, Pharmacogenomics, at future conferences.
An understanding of genetics is becoming increasingly important in the pharmaceutical industry as the sciences of pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics grow and influence most aspects of drug research and development. As professional communicators, it is vital that medical writers have a basic understanding of genetics to be able to communicate the latest research and its effects correctly and effectively to regulators, healthcare professionals and even patients. Unfortunately, this area of science is often explained poorly or confusingly, and academic research papers assume a certain level of genetics knowledge. This workshop is intended to give a grounding in genetics, to explain basic genetic terminology and nomenclature, and to introduce writers to genetic research. The aim is that participants will be equipped to both cope with more advanced workshops involving pharmacogenomics, and to understand and interpret genetics research more easily.
Participants will be led through the basics of inheritance, from the behaviour of DNA in cell division, through to inheritance patterns and how these may be predicted. Advances in sequencing and advanced topics such as pharmacogenomics, medical genetics, and epigenetics will be mentioned but detailed descriptions are beyond the scope of this workshop. The correct nomenclature and syntax will be explained (e.g. how to differentiate between genotype and phenotype).