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Reading Your Personal Cookbook: Genomics and You

(21) Reading Your Personal Cookbook: Genomics and You - William Morgan, Department of Biology

The human genome is like an immense cookbook, containing the "recipes" needed to make all of the components of a living organism.  A decade ago the human genome was first "read" completely, but this only provided a general reference; each individual's personal genome differs from this reference at millions of positions.  While it took nearly 15 years and $3 billion to sequence the reference genome, thanks to recent advances in DNA technology, soon you will be able to read your own unique "cookbook" for less than $1000 and in a matter of just weeks.  Reading your personal genome can provide insights into your origins, your prospects for developing many diseases, and your likely responses to therapeutic drugs and environmental exposures.  Consequently, this new era of personal genomics promises to have huge implications, including how medicine is practiced.  But how will each of us handle this knowledge?  And who should have access to this information?  In this seminar, we will look at the promise and perils associated with a world where each person's “cookbook” has been deciphered.  Possible books and films to be considered in this seminar include Exploring Personal Genomics; Here is a Human Being:  At the Dawn of Personal Genomics; Genetic Explanations:  Sense and Nonsense; and GATTACA.