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The impact of the genomic revolution on medicine and agriculture

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact David de Sancho.

The advent of cheap genomic sequencing will undoubtedly have an impact in translational research. This will involve many different sectors, including medicine, environmental studies, food security and biofuels.

Because it is so generic and potentially sensitive as a method, it is possible to envisage sequencing as the method of choice not only in clinical genetics, but also in diagnosis in many diseases in the future, moving towards stratified medicine and matching the therapy to the patient for some diseases and treatments. In agriculture this information is already valuable for speeding up breeding programmes and for tracking biodiversity. Combining genomic and phenotypic data, including the microbiome, will reveal much about how we as humans function. However for this to happen there needs to be a good biological informatics infrastructure to handle the data, to archive the data securely as appropriate and most importantly to help to analyse the sequence to understand its significance. None of these is easy to achieve. For example, the informatics is an integral part of genomic medicine, and in fact is probably the conduit by which genomic discoveries will be translated into improved treatments in the clinic.

In this presentation I shall consider the current status of genomic data in translational research in the UK and beyond, the potential scale of the data for the future and some of the informatics challenges involved. It is necessary to be proactive in seeking solutions to these challenges, so that the benefits of this revolution in sequencing technology can be efficiently and speedily harnessed to translate into global benefits.

This talk is part of the Wolfson College Science Society series.

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