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Socialising the Genome: talking to patients about genetics

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Lucy Lloyd.

All welcome to this Primary Care Unit seminar

Given that the vast majority of the public have never heard of genomics, how could we describe this to them? We know that science (and in particular genomics) has the potential to create a power differential between ‘expert’ and other; the net result being that people are put off even trying to engage.

“Socialising the Genome” research project aims to understand how to make genomics a more social concept, developing evidence-based narratives that can open up this complex, somewhat arcane field to wider public understanding.

Building on the results of focus groups, 6 delightfully quirky animations were created which explore different methods for starting a conversation about genomics. These were then measured for likability, interest and informational content amongst a representative British public.

As genomic medicine advances from lab to clinic, looking set to affect all our lives at one time or another, there is a real and pressing need for public engagement projects like Socialising the Genome. Without getting a public conversation started, there is a risk that confusion, mistrust and even pseudo-science will rush in to fill the gap.

Anna Middleton (Head of Society and Ethics Research at Wellcome Genome Campus) is a psychologist and genetic counsellor who will share her work on public attitudes towards issues within genomics and the innovative methods she has used to engage them in research.

This talk is part of the Primary Care series.

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