June 7, 2018

The Human Genome Experience – Discover, eNgage, leArn

By Sharon Rosen

Genomic Journey – Meet Your Genome: Your genome is a roadmap that can help you trace your ancestral past. Embark on a Genomic Journey and see yourself in a new way: as an individual, as a member of a family, and as part of the diversity of life on Earth.

Are you at risk for developing a hereditary cancer or rare disease? Do you have genetic factors that may affect the way you respond to certain medications?

These are just some of the ways genetics may impact your health. Come learn about the genome – the complete set of instructions that help your body grow and function.

Explore how inherited traits affect your life and your health at the “Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code” exhibit at the Rochester Art Center (RAC) from June 23-Sept. 21.

The exhibit was developed by the Smithsonian Institution and the National Institutes of Health’s National Human Genome Research Institute. Mayo Clinic is the first medical center to sponsor the traveling exhibit.

Timothy Curry, M.D., Ph.D.

“Genomics is becoming more integrated into routine medical care for many conditions. That’s why it is so important for each of us to understand how genomics impacts our health and risk for disease. With this knowledge, we can make better decisions about our health care. We are excited to sponsor the exhibit so that visitors can learn firsthand about the science behind genomics as well as how it is already enhancing the lives of patients through individualized care,” says Timothy Curry, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Center for Individualized Medicine Education program.

Journey through the genome   

Tour the three exhibit galleries to discover what a genome is, how it relates to medicine and health, and how it connects you to all of life on the planet, both past and present. Within each area, numerous topics are explored through the latest imagery on genomics, 3-D models, hands-on activities and videos.

You can also attend special events to hear experts in genomics and medicine:

  • RAC chats: These weekly presentations will feature scientific experts discussing many topics in genomic medicine, such as the connection between the bacteria in and on your body (your microbiome) and your health, the latest advances in prenatal testing, bioethics issues surrounding genomics and ways genomics help diagnosis rare diseases.
  • Book club: Prior to each weekly RAC chat, visitors can attend a discussion on one of two books addressing genomics topics – The Story Within by Amy Boesky and Abraham Lincoln’s DNA and Other Adventures in Genetics by Phillip R. Reily.  
  • Seniors in Medicine (SMArt): This series will focus on genomics in medicine, covering topics related to aging and medications.

The Genome Within Us – Reading Life’s Code: It took nearly a decade, three billion dollars, and thousands of scientists to sequence the human genome in 2003. Discover how ongoing innovative technology is speeding up the process and cutting costs, as well as what this all means for DNA data management.

Additional exhibits highlight a variety of topics:

  • Basic concepts of genomic medicine: Created by the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine, these educational videos highlight the wide range of areas where genomics research is being applied to improve medical care.
  • Patients share their stories: These videos feature Mayo Clinic patients and their health care team, discussing how genomics helped diagnose and identify individualized treatments for a wide range of conditions.
  • Careers in genomics: This video series features Mayo Clinic health care providers discussing what inspired them to pursue careers in genomic medicine. Geneticists, genetic counselors, biostatisticians and many more providers share their personal career journeys.  
  • Trait tree wall display: A large diagram guides visitors to identify four visible genetic traits unique to each person and features members of the local community. Attendees can stop at the photo kiosk, take their picture and see where they fit on the tree of shared genetic traits.

See genomics through the artist’s lens    

In addition to the Genome exhibit, you can view works by local artists and two special art exhibitions:

  • Positive Exposure – The Spirit of Difference is a series of photographs by artist Rick Guidotti that seek to show the beauty of all people by photographing those living with genetic conditions.
  • Beyond the Diagnosis displays commissioned paintings from artists around the world, each focusing on someone living with a rare genetic disease.

Finally, you’ll want to stop in to the Genome Zone, an area that has interactive, hands-on art activities for all ages. Express yourself and celebrate what makes you unique.

Learn more

For more information about the exhibit, see the complete schedule of special events and presentations here.

“Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code” is made possible in part by support from the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.

The Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine is sponsoring the exhibit with benefactor support.

Join us at this year's Individualizing Medicine Conference

See the “Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code” exhibit when you attend this year’s Individualizing Medicine Conference on Sept. 12-13, in Rochester, Minnesota. The conference is sponsored by the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine and brings together precision medicine experts from Mayo Clinic and around the world to share how the latest genomic discoveries are advancing patient care.

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