Whole human genome sequencing of individuals is becoming rapid and inexpensive, enabling new strategies for using personal genome information to help diagnose, treat, and even prevent human disorders for which genetic variations are causative or are known to be risk factors. Many of the exploding number of newly discovered genetic variations alter the structure, function, dynamics, stability, and/or interactions of specific proteins and RNA molecules. Accordingly, there are a host of opportunities for biochemists and biophysicists to participate in (1) developing tools to allow accurate and sometimes medically actionable assessment of the potential pathogenicity of individual variations and (2) establishing the mechanistic linkage between pathogenic variations and their physiological consequences, providing a rational basis for treatment or preventive care. In this review, we provide an overview of these opportunities and their associated challenges in light of the current status of genomic science and personalized medicine, the latter often termed precision medicine.
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