Genetics, Epigenetics and Pharmacogenomics – Genetically Guided Prescribing by A/Prof Ajeet Singh

Posted on: August 19, 2019
Last Updated: August 25, 2019

A/Prof Ajeet Singh is an academic, private psychiatrist whose research has focused on genetically guided prescribing (pharmacogenetics) of antidepressants, particularly the role of the blood-brain-barrier. Dr Singh is the Founder of CNSDose, an academic member of the Clinical Pharmacogenetics Implementation Consortium (CPIC), and member of the Genetic Tests in Psychiatry Taskforce, International Society of Psychiatric Genetics (ISPG).

Author Quotes  

If only it was as simple as a simple helix, we could read it. We’re nowhere near figuring it all out, nowhere near.

In reality, there is a very complicated wrapping up process, and the wrapping and unwrapping process can vary between individuals and be passed intergenerationally, so it’s another mechanism of hereditary.

Summary  

This presentation by Dr Ajeet Singh will cover what we need to know about pharmacogenomics. He provides an overview of the limitations of karyotyping and discusses high-resolution single nucleotide polymorphisms. 

He advises how to interpret metrics associated with genetic variants and the clinical impact. 

Moving on to discuss haplotype pairs, he explains how these pairs are intergenerational sections of the DNA strand that travel together, sometimes with different SNP variants, and how analysis of these pairs can be helpful in statistical power studies. 

Dr Singh demonstrates the complexity of epigenetics and how we are only starting to understand the complicated process of how the DNA strand is wrapped and unwrapped. He explains what DNA methylation is and how certain genes can be switched on or off. 

The presentation concludes with a look at the effect stressful life events have on depression and suicide, and how this is linked with the short version of the serotonin-related gene variant. 

Take-Home Points  

  • Haplotype pairs are intergenerational chunks of DNA that travel together 
  • DNA methylation is the switching on and off of genes 
  • Wrapping and rewrapping of DNA is a large part of epigenetics research 
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