Our mission is to discover genetic influences on human health, to characterize the relationship between genetic and environmental influences, and to foster the application of this knowledge to the practice of medicine.
It is now generally accepted that genetics contributes to, at least to some extent, the cause of all
human diseases. Disorders of the eyes, brain and heart profoundly affect
millions worldwide. They are
the primary causes of disability and/or death in both developed and developing countries.
Sometimes the genetic influence in human disease is simple: one gene causes one disease. More commonly, the influence is highly complex, in which a combination of genes in addition to environmental factors significantly render a person more susceptible to illness.
The Duke Center for Human Genetics is an international leader in the study of inherited disorders. Our faculty and staff investigate genetic and environmental influences on human disease in a uniquely integrated research setting. Understanding the causes of human illness allows scientists and physicians to develop better treatments. Genetic research may uncover ways to slow the progression of a disease or prevent symptoms from ever appearing. Therefore, our long-term goal is the incorporation of genetic research findings into the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease.