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Image of the Week: Socialising the Genome

8 Apr, 2016

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Genomics is fast becoming part of everyday healthcare, with DNA already being used to help predict and manage conditions such as cancer and heart disease. But how comfortable does the everyday person feel when striking up a conversation about genomics? And do we understand what it means for us and our health?

The UK has a rich history of genomics research. It played a leading role in sequencing the very first whole human genome in 2000 and is now leading the world’s largest sequencing project, the ‘100,000 Genomes Project.’

The outcomes of this research will have huge implications for research, medicine, and our health. However, the last Wellcome Trust Monitor survey found that only 12% of the population would say they had a good understanding of what a genome is.

A new project, funded by the Wellcome Trust, Genomics England and the Sanger Institute, hopes to address this by sparking new conversations about a subject that might be totally alien to some people. Socialising the Genome aims to bring genomics out of the lab and into dinner table conversations, breaking apart the often-dense scientific language.

The team, led by Dr Anna Middleton, has created a series of short animations based on research with the British public. They cover some of the common misconceptions associated with the science, such as the belief that genomics has no impact on most people’s lives.

Now they want to know what the public think. Are the ideas in the animations likable? Do they resonate? But, most importantly, are they sharable and could they be used as a starter for a conversation?

View the animations and take part in the research at genetube.org

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