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Genomics and Medicine, with Aroon Hingorani

JamesHeather19 March 2013

DNA double helix (courtesy of the National Human
Genome Research Institute via
Wikimedia Commons)

In recognition of February’s status as National Heart Month, Professor Aroon Hingorani recently took to the stage for a Lunch Hour Lecture about the opportunities and challenges associated with using genomics to improve personal and public health.

Genomics is the study of genomes – all of the DNA contained in the cell of an organism.

The ability to read, or ‘sequence’, DNA has been improving exponentially over the last few decades and we can sequence far more DNA than ever before, in less time and at a lower cost.

One of the most significant recent developments in this field was the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003. This ambitious undertaking provided scientists everywhere with a blueprint of what our genomes look like.

By comparing DNA test results to this template researchers can identify the differences that might cause disease.

However, things are rarely that simple in medicine.

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Biology Wednesday at the Fest

JamesHeather9 June 2011

Day two of the Festival had a distinctly biological flavour for me, as the talks I attended touched on many of the hot topics from recent years.

I started the day hearing about the Race for the $1,000 Genome. Since the completion of the Human Genome Project, being able to sequence an individual’s entire genetic make-up for under $1,000 has been the target that those working in the genomic field have been aiming for. To hear the experts talk about it, we’re almost there.

Getting there isn’t the challenge; at this point it’s practically inevitable. What happens when we get there is the problem. The experts picked over tricky questions, such as: who gets their genomes sequenced, what is done with the data, and will it be worthwhile to get it?
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