2nd Place


Ryan Sweeney

Naperville Central HS

Teacher: Nicholas DiGiovanni



Researchers have found that 6-7% of hospital patients have serious adverse drug reactions and up to 32% have fatal reactions, causing approximately 100,000 deaths each year in the United States (Meyer, 2000). Because of this, adverse drug reactions have become anywhere from the fourth to the sixth leading causes of death among hospital patients (Meyer, 2000). Many factors can cause an adverse drug reaction, including age, sex, ethnicity, race, drug interactions, environmental factors, and genetic factors (Shih et al. 2008). The genetic contribution to adverse drug reactions can now be measured because of the Human Genome Project.

The most common genetic variation among individuals is the variation of a single nucleotide. The nucleotide guanine, for example, could be replaced with the nucleotide cytosine. When these variations exist in at least 1% of the population, they are called Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs). SNPs can help to explain the inefficacy of certain drugs in parts of the population. If a population of patients with a specific SNP respond more beneficially to or have an adverse reaction to a drug or treatment, whereas others without this SNP do not, we can link the response to the drug to the genetic variant under study. SNPs can therefore allow physicians to sub-classify diseases and prescribe individualized therapies.