DNA helix. Hi Tech technology in the field of genetic engineering. 3D illustration on a futuristic background

Hastings Center Report

Why the Gene Was (Mis)Placed at the Center of American Health Policy

Abstract: In Tyranny of the Gene: Personalized Medicine and Its Threat to Public Health (Knopf, 2023), James Tabery traces the ascendance of personalized or precision medicine in America, arguing that America’s emphasis on genetics offers more hype than transformational power. In his examination of the power struggles, social relationships, and technological advances that centered the gene in American health policy, Tabery demonstrates how an intensive focus on genetics draws attention away from both the fundamental causes of health disparities and more-effective changes that could be made to developmental, physical, and social environments. American policy-makers, health care institutions, funders, and bioethicists should not let the technological shine and attractive politics of personalized medicine continue to replace the hard but necessary work of addressing sociopolitical causes of disease and illness.

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