Genomics refers to the omics science associated with studying genes, which is the novel scientific approach that addressed the discovery and observing the sequences in the entire genome of an individual organism. Genomics is the fundamental basis of the omics sciences group given that the information in the genes and the organism’s genotype is considerably accountable for the organism’s phenotype. The study of genome evolution reveals a significant amount of information about the true spectrum of life on the planet at its core level of genome diversity and genetic organization (Tyler-Smith et al., 2015). With that said, it is essential to examine the key difference between genomics and genetics science and explore the role of a nurse in a particular field of omics.
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Genomics and Genetics Differences
Genomics and genetics are two different tributaries united in one stream of the extensive study of genome evolution. According to Meneely, Hoang, Okeke & Heston (2017), examining how genetics and genomics fit into the broader picture of biology is crucial for understanding these two essential concepts. Although both sciences involve the study of genetic material, they have specific differences that are important to recognize, particularly in nursing science. Genetics refers to the study of the genes inherited by humans at birth and passed over from one’s family through the generations. Genomics, instead, is associated with the study of mutations in genes that might provoke various diseases (Fee-Schroeder & King, 2019). With that said, genetics examines the heredity and its core unit, DNA, while genomics studies the entireness of the organism’s genes, namely the genome.
The Role of Nurses in Different Areas of Omics: Genomics and Epigenomics
The focus on genomics science in nursing education is a vital step in building an informed nurse workforce that understands core genetic and genomic concepts, pharmacogenomics, promotes patient education, and makes necessary referrals. As described by Sharof (2015), the incorporation of genomics content into nursing education leads to significant improvements in promoting and protecting the public’s health. It also explains the necessary terminology and prepares nurses with the essential competencies to effectively integrate genomic information in clinical care. Nurses cover the largest healthcare profession, which means they must be at the forefront of genetics and genomics integration into the medical practice.
The role of nurses in genomics relies on the fact that genomics is inherent to all areas of the healthcare continuum and many aspects of patient care. This includes “assessment, prevention, screening, diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, assessment of treatment effectiveness, and drug selection” (Aiello, 2017, p. 747). Regarding nurses’ contribution to epigenomics, which studies the complete set of epigenetic modifications on the epigenome, nurse practitioners play a crucial role in translating research findings into clinical reality (Alexander, 2015). Nurses use genetic variants to identify the proper dosing of selected medications and achieve improvements in quantifying the risk of disease development or adverse outcomes from therapeutics.
Genetics and genomics science play a crucial role in redefining the general understanding of the continuation of human life and, therefore, requires an appropriate nursing education competency. The critical aspects of inheritance and genetic information covered by genetics and genomics occur in a particular biological context over evolutionary time. Nurses play a pivotal role in applying the benefits of genomics to the ongoing health care practice. Genomics is an important asset for nurses and other healthcare providers in improved understanding of health risks, therapeutic decisions, designing new therapies, and patient responses to medical interventions.
Aiello, L. (2017). Genomics education: Knowledge of nurses across the profession and integration into practice. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 21(6), 747–753.
Alexander, S. A. (2015). The contributions of nursing to genetics, epigenetics, genomics, and epigenomics: A word from the current president of ISONG. Biological Research for Nursing, 17(4), 362–363.
Fee-Schroeder, K., & King, E. (2019). What is the difference between genetics and genomics? ONS Voice, Web.
Meneely, P. M., Hoang, R. D., Okeke, I., N., & Heston, K. (2017). Genetics: genes, genomes, and evolution. Oxford University Press.
Sharof, L. (2015). Genetics and genomics integration into undergraduate nursing education. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 5(4), 13–18.
Tyler-Smith, C., Yang, H., Landweber, L. F., Dunham, I., Knoppers, B. M., Donnelly, P., Mardis, E. R., Snyder, M., & McVean, G. (2015). Where next for genetics and genomics? PLOS Biology, 13(7), e1002216.