This glossary defines commonly used terms in personalized genomic care.

DNA: A long, helix-shaped strand of genetic information passed down from parent to child that tells your body how to function. DNA is made up of bases labeled A, T, G, C, which spell out the code for genetic instructions.

Gene: A section of DNA that builds and controls the body's traits and functions.

Gene variant: Small changes in genes that make people unique. Everyone has the same set of genes, but what makes people different are variations in those genes, which might cause one person to have brown eyes while another might have green eyes.

Gene mutation: Harmful gene variants that can sometimes cause disease and health conditions.

Gene sequencing: Determining the order of DNA bases A, T, G, C, to "read" the DNA. This allows us to analyze the code and figure out what changes may have happened affecting gene function.

Genome: The body's complete set of DNA.

Genomics: The study of the genome. Genomics aims to understand how our DNA functions and interacts within our bodies.

Genetics: The study of how genes are passed down from one generation to another and how differences in genes can affect people.

Hereditary: A genetic trait that is that is passed down from a parent or ancestor.

Hereditary disease: A disease that can be passed down through family generations.

Immunotherapy: A personalized form of treatment that boosts the body’s own immune system to fight off diseases.

Inherit: To receive from a parent or ancestor through genetics.

Personalized medicine: A field of medicine in which providers use diagnostic test results along with medical history and lifestyle to tailor medical treatments to the individual. Also known as precision medicine or precision health. 

Pharmacogenomics: A cutting-edge field of genomics that studies how genes can influence a person's response to medication. Pharmacogenomics is the study of how quickly or slowly your body breaks down a drug, how much (what dose) your body might need for the drug to work, as well as potentially harmful drug interactions like unexpected side effects. 

Targeted therapy: A type of personalized cancer treatment that can narrow in on an individual's unique genes or specific gene mutations that are involved in the growth or spread of cancer. Often available in the form of personalized oral medication, this type of therapy can zero in on the cancerous cells with fewer side-effects than traditional chemotherapy.