Mary Elizabeth Ames

Mary Elizabeth Ames blends genetics with fiction to illustrate how genes work, how they are inherited, their complexity, and the role they play in both health and disease.

Mary Elizabeth Ames penned the stories Homo transformans:  The Origin and Nature of the Species, H’Ilgraith, Raephela, and Dragona.

Ms. Ames has a Master of Science degree in biology and has taught pathophysiology at the graduate level. She has worked in the healthcare arena for more than 30 years.

Mary Elizabeth incorporates the science of biology and genetics into her narratives to imbue a sense of realism into the story and to provide an understanding of how genes function, especially in Homo sapiens.  She hopes that people will glean from the story the significance of gene functions and gain greater awareness of the role genes play in maintaining well-being and in treating disease.

The Role of Genes in Personalized Health Care

The goal of personalized health care is to tailor your health care to your specific requirements and to design preventive measures and treatments that target your individual needs. Although individualized health has always been the intent of healthcare providers, the ability to do so is evolving.

The new era of personalized medicine intends to use direct knowledge of your genetic make-up to devise a plan of care with greater precision. For now, it is not feasible to map the genome of every individual. So, when genetic information is not available, family history serves as a surrogate.

Image illustrating how genes pass from parents to children
U.S. National Library of Medicine, Genetics Home Reference

Many diseases and disorders have the potential for being inherited from one generation to another. Family medical history (your medical pedigree) is a means of establishing a pattern of disease in family members and of identifying other members who may be at risk for inheriting that disease.  It is an indirect indicator of the risk for developing the same or a similar disorder.  Geneticists also use this information to generate a pedigree chart (genogram) to determine how a genetic trait may have been inherited.

Family history is an important part of your health history.