Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are unique genetic differences between individuals that contribute in significant ways to the determination of human variation including physical characteristics like height and appearance as well as less obvious traits such as personality, behaviour and disease susceptibility. SNPs can also significantly influence responses to pharmacotherapy and whether drugs will produce adverse reactions. The development of new drugs can be made far cheaper and more rapid by selecting participants in drug trials based on their genetically determined response to drugs. Technology that can rapidly and inexpensively genotype thousands of samples for thousands of SNPs at a time is therefore in high demand. With the completion of the human genome project, about 12 million true SNPs have been identified to date. However, most have not yet been associated with disease susceptibility or drug response. Testing for the appropriate drug response SNPs in a patient requiring treatment would enable individualised therapy with the right drug and dose administered correctly the first time. Many pharmaceutical companies are also interested in identifying SNPs associated with polygenic traits so novel therapeutic targets can be discovered. This review focuses on technologies that can be used for genotyping known SNPs as well as for the discovery of novel SNPs associated with drug response.
Keywords: Diagnostics, pharmacogenomics, polymorphisms, pharmacotherapy, genotyping