Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code

Photo credit: Smithsonian

Photo credit: Smithsonian

This month “Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code,” first state-of-the-art exhibition about genome science, opened at the Museum of Natural History in partnership with the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). The exhibit boasts cutting-edge interactives, 3D models, custom animations and engaging videos of real-life stories. According to Dr. Eric D. Green, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), one of the 27 institutes and centers that make up the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “This exhibition reflects a remarkably productive collaboration between components of two scientific icons of the U.S. government – the Smithsonian Institution and the National Institutes of Health.”

The Human Genome Project (HGP), which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, has helped researchers gain a better understanding of genes, opening pathways to new innovations for health and technology. Before the project, researchers knew the genetic basis of about 60 rare genetic diseases; when it ended the number had jumped to 2,200. Today, with research energized by the HGP, we know the genomic basis of nearly 5,000 rare disorders, according to the exhibits website.

Several Research!America member organizations have helped bring this important milestone to light. Recently, United for Medical Research and Battelle released a new report, “The Impact of Genomics on the U.S. Economy,” which demonstrates that the Human Genome Project and related research continue to yield significant U.S. economic growth. Also, The Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research held a Capitol Hill luncheon briefing this week with Dr. Eric Green and Dr. Francis Collins, director of NIH, highlighting the advances in genomic medicine, the plummeting cost of genetic sequencing and the future medical application of genomics that will improve the nation’s health.

Can’t make it to the Washington D.C. exhibit? Check out the video and photos of the exhibit on the FasterCures tumblr.

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