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Wednesday 26 February, Rob Lyons

Health and genomics: what’s the score with polygenic scores?

Listen to the debate from the Battle of Ideas festival 2019.

Recording of a debate at the Battle of Ideas festival on Sunday 3 November 2019.

Debate is growing about the use of a genetic/genomic approach called ‘polygenic scores’ to understand health and assess health risks. These scores are different from traditional genetic tests and can be used in relation to a vastly greater number of diseases and conditions. Advocates claim this new approach could revolutionise healthcare and – in the UK context – help redefine the NHS. Critics retort that polygenic scores are of limited use, and are perilously easy to misconstrue. Do polygenic scores offer vital information for patients and clinicians or could they lead to unnecessary anxiety and pointless medical intervention?

DR TOBY ANDREW
lecturer in human genetics, principal investigator in genetics, and programme organiser MSc in Human Molecular Genetics, Imperial College London

SIR PETER DONNELLY
CEO and founder, Genomics plc; professor of statistical science, Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford

NICKY DRURY
principal genetic counsellor, Nottingham Regional Clinical Genetics Service; former member, United Kingdom Human Genetics Commission

CHAIR: SANDY STARR
deputy director, Progress Educational Trust

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