Genomics and genomic medicine are very much in the spotlight. But what can genomics tell us? And what are specialists looking for when they analyse someone’s genomic information?
In this video, Dr Michelle Bishop from Health Education England’s Genomics Education Programme introduces us to a range of reasons why different people and professions want to know about genomes.
• why researchers have been driven to find out more about genomes;
• why healthcare professionals might make increasing use of information about a person’s genome in healthcare; and
• why individuals are choosing to learn more about their genetic make-up.
Michelle explains that:
• there are around 3.2 billion chemical letters in the human genome and around 99.9% of our genome is identical to other people’s;
• in healthcare we are focused on the relatively small number (approximately three million) of changes or 'variants' present in an individual genome; and
• not all variation is bad. Variation in the genome is responsible for the natural variation we see between us - for example eye colour and hair colour - but sometimes this variation can be ‘pathogenic’ (disease-causing). This is the focus of genomic analysis in healthcare.
If you'd like to know more about genomics and whole genome sequencing in particular, why not sign up to our free online course, which runs twice a year: futurelearn.com/courses/whole-genome-sequencing.
Health Education England's Genomics Education Programme is developing a substantial education programme to inform healthcare professionals about the impact of genomics on clinical practice. This video is one of the many educational resources from the programme. For more information visit the programme website: genomicseducation.hee.nhs.uk.