genetics is a term that refers to the study of genes and their roles in inheritance – in other words, the way that certain traits or conditions are passed down from one generation to another. genetics involves scientific studies of genes and their effects. genetics involves the study of specific and limited numbers of genes, or parts of genes, that have a known function. in biomedical research, scientists try to understand how genes guide the body’s development, cause disease or affect response to drugs. examples of genetic or inherited disorders include cystic fibrosis, huntington’s disease, and phenylketonuria [PKU].
genomics is a more recent term that describes the study of all of a person’s genes [the genome], including interactions of those genes with each other and with the person’s environment. genomics includes the scientific study of complex diseases such as heart disease, asthma, diabetes, and cancer because these diseases are typically caused more by a combination of genetic and environmental factors than by individual genes. genomics is offering new possibilities for therapies and treatments for some complex diseases, as well as new diagnostic methods. genomics is helping researchers discover why some people get sick from certain infections, environmental factors, and behaviours, while others do not.
understanding more about diseases caused by a single gene (using genetics) and complex diseases caused by multiple genes and environmental factors (using genomics) can lead to earlier diagnoses, interventions, and targeted treatments.