‘Personal Genomes: From Ancestry and Identity to Health’ – Café Science event on 27th October

The University of Dundee’s Professor Colin Palmer will next week explain how genomic information is playing an increasing role in everything from tracing ancestry to scientific research.

Professor Palmer will lead the next event in the Café Science series to take place at Avery & Co, South Tay Street, Dundee, at 7pm on Monday, 27th October.

The genetic blueprint for our bodies contains over 3 billion letters, and scientists have only just started to unravel the meaning of these genomic instructions. With many companies offering to analyse genomes, both for ancestry and health-related purposes, and the recent development of pocket sized genome readers, there is an urgent need to get a good understanding of how to use this information to benefit of public health.

That is the goal of the GoSHARE initiative led by Professor Palmer, and he will use his Café Science appearance to discuss how more than 25,000 people in Tayside and Fife have given permission to use spare blood samples in genetic research.

“Every day in Scotland, many thousands of samples of blood are discarded after use but we are asking the public to let us use that blood to boost research into diseases such as cancer, diabetes and asthma,” said Professor Palmer.

“Over the past 15 years, around 10 per cent of the Tayside population have signed up to genetic studies and this has resulted directly in major discoveries of genetic variants for many different diseases. With the information we can gather from blood samples there is even more we can do to help fight these diseases and it only takes a minute for people to sign up and help us.

“The use of spare blood is resourceful and unique, and a world first. This is made possible only by the close collaboration between the University and NHS Tayside, as well as the installation of new technologies which allow the quick and effective tracking of blood samples.”

Professor Palmer is Chair of Pharmacogenomics within the University’s School of Medicine, based at Ninewells Hospital.

Café Science was launched in January 2008, and has attracted in excess of 5000 visitors since then. The monthly events are informal discussions led by leading local researchers that allow members of the public the opportunity to learn more about the ground-breaking science at the Universities of Dundee, St Andrews and Abertay, the James Hutton Institute, and Dundee Science Centre.

‘Personal Genomes: From Ancestry and Identity to Health’ takes place at Avery & Co, South Tay Street, at 7pm on Monday, 27th October. The event is free and open to all. There is no need to book in advance but an early arrival is recommended.

More information is available at www.cafesciencedundee.co.uk.   


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