Fellowship in Primary Care

Clinical Genetics courses in India

How to cite this article:
Ghosh K, Mohanty D. Teaching of medical genetics in the medical colleges of India - Way ahead. Indian J Hum Genet 2002;8:43-4


How to cite this URL:
Ghosh K, Mohanty D. Teaching of medical genetics in the medical colleges of India - Way ahead. Indian J Hum Genet [serial online] 2002 [cited 2015 Jun 28];8:43-4. Available from:

Traditionally principles of Medical Genetics were taught as a few lecture series in the anatomy departments for undergraduate MBBS course. Subsequently some elements of medical genetics and molecular biology is continued to be taught in Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Microbiology and in Pediatrics specialities. However this teaching is largely unstructured and most often rudimentary.

Absence of genetics services e.g. Cytogenetics, Genetic clinics and Genetic counseling units in >90% of the medical colleges in India hardly encourage the aspiring medical students to take up any branch of genetics as a career goal.

Neglecting training in genetics and its current avtar i.e. molecular biology in medical colleges may have far reaching consequences for our medical service in future. Often the managers and politicians holding the powers to implement various policies shirk their responsibility by pointing out the absence of finance to support additional burden of genetic services in various medical colleges in our country.

So what should we do? The training in genetics and molecular biology can no longer wait. We are already late. Future medicine and medical decision making is going to be heavily dependent on clear understanding of (i) Genetic risks (ii) Genetic variation in drug handling (ii) targeting prophylaxis against certain malignant and degenerative disorders on the basis of genetic risk evaluation (iv) Transplantation immunology (v) prenatal diagnosis technology (vi) molecular diagnostics as used for bacterial & viral diagnosis like estimation of viral load in HIV infection with its pitfalls and fallacies (vii) principles of gene therapy and complications which may potentially arise from such therapy (viii) National programmes to control heritable disorders like thalassaemias etc.

We feel that it is possible to make a beginning. For quite some time one or two institutions in our country had shown how this could be possible.

The Government and its planning wing must develop a long term goal to develop departments of clinical & laboratory genetic services all over the country and because genetic diagnosis if incorrect can cause immense damage to the user of this service. This service however, should also come with strict quality control.

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