The related field of neuropsychopharmacology investigates drugs in the context of the overlap between the nervous system and the psyche. Pharmacometabolomics , also known as pharmacometabonomics, is a field which stems from metabolomics , the quantification and analysis of metabolites produced by the body. Pharmacomicrobiomics is defined as the effect of microbiome variations on drug disposition, action, and toxicity.
Pharmacogenomics is the application of genomic technologies to drug discovery and further characterization of drugs. This is in the context of genome-wide pharmacology. For pharmacology regarding individual genes, pharmacogenetics studies clinical testing of genetic variation that gives rise to differing response to drugs. Pharmacoepigenetics studies the underlying epigenetic marking patterns that lead to variation in an individual's response to medical treatment. Clinical pharmacology is the basic science of pharmacology with an added focus on the application of pharmacological principles and methods in the medical clinic and towards patient care and outcomes.
Posology is the study of how medicines are dosed. Toxicology is the study of the adverse effects , molecular targets, and characterization of drugs or any chemical substance in excess including those beneficial in lower doses. Similarly, pharmacotoxicology and neurotoxicology investigate the toxicity of substances from pharmacological and neurological perspectives.
Drug discovery Drug design and Drug development Drug design is the inventive process of finding new medications based on the knowledge of a biological target. Drug development is the process of bringing a new pharmaceutical drug to the market once a lead compound has been identified through the process of drug discovery. Pharmacoeconomics refers to the discipline that compares the value of pharmaceutical drugs or drug therapies.
A pharmacoeconomic study evaluates the cost expressed in monetary terms and effects expressed in terms of monetary value, efficacy or enhanced quality of life of a pharmaceutical product. Pharmacoeconomic studies serve to guide optimal healthcare resource allocation, in a standardized and scientifically grounded manner. Pharmaceutical engineering or pharmacoengineering is a branch of engineering focused on discovering , formulating , and manufacturing medication , as well as analytical and quality control processes. It utilizes the fields of chemical engineering , biomedical engineering , and pharmaceutical sciences.
Theoretical pharmacology is a field of research in which many of the techniques of computational chemistry, in particular computational quantum chemistry and the method of molecular mechanics, are proving to be of great value. Theoretical pharmacologists aim at rationalizing the relation between the activity of a particular drug, as observed experimentally, and its structural features as derived from computer experiments.
They aim to find structure—activity relations. Furthermore, on the basis of the structure of a given organic molecule, the theoretical pharmacologist aims at predicting the biological activity of new drugs that are of the same general type as existing drugs. More ambitiously, it aims to predict entirely new classes of drugs, tailor-made for specific purposes. Similarly, pharmacometrics are mathematical models of biology, pharmacology, disease, and physiology used to describe and quantify interactions between xenobiotics and patients human and non-human , including beneficial effects and adverse effects.
Experimental pharmacology involves the study of pharmacology through bioassay , to test the efficacy and potency of a drug. Systems pharmacology or network pharmacology is the application of systems biology principles in the field of pharmacology. This relates to the broader field of bioinformatics.
Ethopharmacology not to be confused with ethnopharmacology  relates to ethology and studies drugs in the context of animal behaviours. Pharmacology can be studied in relation to wider contexts. Pharmacoepidemiology is the study of the effects of drugs in large numbers of people.
This relates to the broader fields of epidemiology and public health. Ethnopharmacology relates to the ethnic and cultural aspects of pharmacology. Pharmacoenvironmentology or Environmental pharmacology. There is a close collaboration between environmental science and medicine in addressing these issues, as healthcare itself can be a cause of environmental damage or remediation. Human health and ecology are intimately related. This field is intimately linked with Public Health fields. Environmental pharmacology studies the environmental effect of pharmaceuticals and personal care products.
This relates to the broader fields of ecology and public health. Environmental pharmacology considers the effect of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in the environment. Pharmacocybernetics also known as pharma-cybernetics, cybernetic pharmacy and cyberpharmacy is an emerging field that describes the science of supporting drugs and medications use through the application and evaluation of informatics and internet technologies, so as to improve the pharmaceutical care of patients.
The energy of light is used to change for shape and chemical properties of the drug, resulting in different biological activity. This is done to ultimately achieve control when and where drugs are active in a reversible manner, to prevent side effects and exposure to the environment of antibiotics. The study of chemicals requires intimate knowledge of the biological system affected.
With the knowledge of cell biology and biochemistry increasing, the field of pharmacology has also changed substantially. It has become possible, through molecular analysis of receptors , to design chemicals that act on specific cellular signaling or metabolic pathways by affecting sites directly on cell-surface receptors which modulate and mediate cellular signaling pathways controlling cellular function. Chemicals can have pharmacologically relevant properties and effects.
Pharmacokinetics describes the effect of the body on the chemical e. Pharmacology is typically studied with respect to particular systems, for example endogenous neurotransmitter systems. The major systems studied in pharmacology can be categorised by their ligands and include acetylcholine , adrenaline , glutamate , GABA , dopamine , histamine , serotonin , cannabinoid and opioid.
Molecular targets in pharmacology include receptors , enzymes and membrane transport proteins. Enzymes can be targeted with enzyme inhibitors. Receptors are typically categorised based on structure and function. Major receptor types studied in pharmacology include G protein coupled receptors , ligand gated ion channels and receptor tyrosine kinases.
Pharmacological models include the Hill equation , Cheng-Prusoff equation and Schild regression. Pharmacological theory often investigates the binding affinity of ligands to their receptors. Medication is said to have a narrow or wide therapeutic index , certain safety factor or therapeutic window. This describes the ratio of desired effect to toxic effect. A compound with a narrow therapeutic index close to one exerts its desired effect at a dose close to its toxic dose. A compound with a wide therapeutic index greater than five exerts its desired effect at a dose substantially below its toxic dose.
Those with a narrow margin are more difficult to dose and administer, and may require therapeutic drug monitoring examples are warfarin , some antiepileptics , aminoglycoside antibiotics. Most anti- cancer drugs have a narrow therapeutic margin: toxic side-effects are almost always encountered at doses used to kill tumors.
The effect of drugs can be described with Loewe additivity. When describing the pharmacokinetic properties of the chemical that is the active ingredient or active pharmaceutical ingredient API , pharmacologists are often interested in L-ADME :. Drug metabolism is assessed in pharmacokinetics and is important in drug research and prescribing. Development of medication is a vital concern to medicine , but also has strong economical and political implications. To protect the consumer and prevent abuse, many governments regulate the manufacture, sale, and administration of medication.
In the United States , the main body that regulates pharmaceuticals is the Food and Drug Administration and they enforce standards set by the United States Pharmacopoeia. In the European Union , the main body that regulates pharmaceuticals is the EMA and they enforce standards set by the European Pharmacopoeia. The metabolic stability and the reactivity of a library of candidate drug compounds have to be assessed for drug metabolism and toxicological studies. Many methods have been proposed for quantitative predictions in drug metabolism; one example of a recent computational method is SPORCalc.
This means that when a useful activity has been identified, chemists will make many similar compounds called analogues, in an attempt to maximize the desired medicinal effect s of the compound.
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This development phase can take anywhere from a few years to a decade or more and is very expensive. These new analogues need to be developed. It needs to be determined how safe the medicine is for human consumption, its stability in the human body and the best form for delivery to the desired organ system, like tablet or aerosol. After extensive testing, which can take up to 6 years, the new medicine is ready for marketing and selling. Population genetics studies the distribution of genetic differences within populations and how these distributions change over time. Over many generations, the genomes of organisms can change significantly, resulting in evolution.
In the process called adaptation , selection for beneficial mutations can cause a species to evolve into forms better able to survive in their environment. By comparing the homology between different species' genomes, it is possible to calculate the evolutionary distance between them and when they may have diverged. Genetic comparisons are generally considered a more accurate method of characterizing the relatedness between species than the comparison of phenotypic characteristics. The evolutionary distances between species can be used to form evolutionary trees ; these trees represent the common descent and divergence of species over time, although they do not show the transfer of genetic material between unrelated species known as horizontal gene transfer and most common in bacteria.
Although geneticists originally studied inheritance in a wide range of organisms, researchers began to specialize in studying the genetics of a particular subset of organisms. The fact that significant research already existed for a given organism would encourage new researchers to choose it for further study, and so eventually a few model organisms became the basis for most genetics research.
Organisms were chosen, in part, for convenience—short generation times and easy genetic manipulation made some organisms popular genetics research tools. Widely used model organisms include the gut bacterium Escherichia coli , the plant Arabidopsis thaliana , baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae , the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans , the common fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster , and the common house mouse Mus musculus.
Medical genetics seeks to understand how genetic variation relates to human health and disease. At the population level, researchers take advantage of Mendelian randomization to look for locations in the genome that are associated with diseases, a method especially useful for multigenic traits not clearly defined by a single gene. In addition to studying genetic diseases, the increased availability of genotyping methods has led to the field of pharmacogenetics : the study of how genotype can affect drug responses. Individuals differ in their inherited tendency to develop cancer ,  and cancer is a genetic disease.
Mutations occasionally occur within cells in the body as they divide. Although these mutations will not be inherited by any offspring, they can affect the behavior of cells, sometimes causing them to grow and divide more frequently. There are biological mechanisms that attempt to stop this process; signals are given to inappropriately dividing cells that should trigger cell death , but sometimes additional mutations occur that cause cells to ignore these messages. An internal process of natural selection occurs within the body and eventually mutations accumulate within cells to promote their own growth, creating a cancerous tumor that grows and invades various tissues of the body.
Normally, a cell divides only in response to signals called growth factors and stops growing once in contact with surrounding cells and in response to growth-inhibitory signals. It usually then divides a limited number of times and dies, staying within the epithelium where it is unable to migrate to other organs.
To become a cancer cell, a cell has to accumulate mutations in a number of genes three to seven. A cancer cell can divide without growth factor and ignores inhibitory signals. Also, it is immortal and can grow indefinitely, even after it makes contact with neighboring cells. It may escape from the epithelium and ultimately from the primary tumor. Then, the escaped cell can cross the endothelium of a blood vessel and get transported by the bloodstream to colonize a new organ, forming deadly metastasis. Although there are some genetic predispositions in a small fraction of cancers, the major fraction is due to a set of new genetic mutations that originally appear and accumulate in one or a small number of cells that will divide to form the tumor and are not transmitted to the progeny somatic mutations.
The most frequent mutations are a loss of function of p53 protein , a tumor suppressor , or in the p53 pathway, and gain of function mutations in the Ras proteins , or in other oncogenes. DNA can be manipulated in the laboratory. Restriction enzymes are commonly used enzymes that cut DNA at specific sequences, producing predictable fragments of DNA. The use of ligation enzymes allows DNA fragments to be connected. By binding "ligating" fragments of DNA together from different sources, researchers can create recombinant DNA , the DNA often associated with genetically modified organisms.
In the process known as molecular cloning , researchers can amplify the DNA fragments by inserting plasmids into bacteria and then culturing them on plates of agar to isolate clones of bacteria cells —"cloning" can also refer to the various means of creating cloned "clonal" organisms. DNA sequencing , one of the most fundamental technologies developed to study genetics, allows researchers to determine the sequence of nucleotides in DNA fragments.
The technique of chain-termination sequencing , developed in by a team led by Frederick Sanger , is still routinely used to sequence DNA fragments. As sequencing has become less expensive, researchers have sequenced the genomes of many organisms using a process called genome assembly , which utilizes computational tools to stitch together sequences from many different fragments.
Next-generation sequencing or high-throughput sequencing came about due to the ever-increasing demand for low-cost sequencing. These sequencing technologies allow the production of potentially millions of sequences concurrently. Genomics can also be considered a subfield of bioinformatics , which uses computational approaches to analyze large sets of biological data.
A common problem to these fields of research is how to manage and share data that deals with human subject and personally identifiable information. See also genomics data sharing. On 19 March , a group of leading biologists urged a worldwide ban on clinical use of methods, particularly the use of CRISPR and zinc finger , to edit the human genome in a way that can be inherited. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This is the latest accepted revision , reviewed on 29 June This article is about the general scientific term. For the scientific journal, see Genetics journal. Science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms.
For a more accessible and less technical introduction to this topic, see Introduction to genetics. Genome Heredity Mutation. Nucleotide Variation. Outline Index. Introduction History. Index Outline. Main article: History of genetics. Further information: Mutationism and Modern synthesis 20th century. Main article: Mendelian inheritance. Main articles: DNA and Chromosome. Main articles: Asexual reproduction and Sexual reproduction. Main articles: Chromosomal crossover and Genetic linkage. Main article: Genetic code. Main article: Nature and nurture.
Main article: Regulation of gene expression. Main article: Mutation. Main article: Evolution. Further information: Natural selection. See also: Genetics in fiction. Bacterial genome size Cryoconservation of animal genetic resources Eugenics Embryology Evolution Genetic disorder Genetic diversity Genetic engineering Genetic enhancement Index of genetics articles Medical genetics Molecular tools for gene study Mutation Neuroepigenetics Outline of genetics Timeline of the history of genetics Plant genetic resources.
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