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Outside the Lab Personalized medicine, Cell & gene therapy, Professional development

Why ‘Sexy’ Needs Substance

We all like to hear things in soundbites but, in my view, we should also explain what we mean when we use terms such as epigenetics, stem cells and precision medicine.

I’ve been in the stem cell field since 1999, and in epigenetics since 2008, and I think the term epigenetics is becoming like ‘stem cell’ in that it means many different things to different people. Scientists and clinicians have been expressing their concerns about how the term epigenetics can get misused in the media (1) – and we need to be more cautious with it. Why? Epigenetics could essentially mean anything; some of the influences are outside genetics. My concern is that using epigenetics as a ‘grab bag’ term is not helpful for science, patients or clinicians.

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About the Author

Rajesh Rao

Rajesh Rao is vitreoretinal surgeon, clinician-scientist, and Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the Kellogg Eye Center, Assistant Professor of Pathology, and Leslie H. and Abigail S. Wexner Emerging Scholar at the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute, University of Michigan, USA.

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