In recent years epigenetic factors have been increasingly recognized as important determinants of health. The genomic research of the last decade has seen an important change of direction, from the high penetrance genes to the geneenvironment interactions. So far Public Health and health policy makers are struggling to translate these emerging understandings of disease etiology into policies and practices. In this paper we argue that the different professions involved in this discourse are operating with different concepts. The analysis and recognition of small relative risks does not provide policy makers with the scientific base that they need to modify health policies. Relative risks may only be useful if researchers are able either to translate the relative risks into attributable risks or if they initially set up study designs which aim to identify attributable risks. In the language of law and policy makers these attributable risks are modifiable, therefore allowing collective and individual actions to be taken. Translating emerging scientific knowledge into policies is one of the main tasks of Public Health Genomics. Public Health Genomics is an emerging fi eld of translational research which organizes the effective and responsible application of genome based knowledge and technologies. In Europe the Public Health Genomics European Network (PHGEN), a DG SANCO-funded network of researchers, policy makers and their institutions is organizing this process. It has set up communications processes which ensure that epigenetic factors are increasingly recognized both by researchers and by policy makers.
|Title of host publication||Epigenetics and Human Health|
|Subtitle of host publication||Linking Hereditary, Environmental and Nutritional Aspects|
|Number of pages||15|
|Publication status||Published - 08-01-2010|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)