What Is the Genomics Revolution?
Updated on July 24th, 2019
As a reader of YourDNA.com, you’ve probably heard about the genomics revolution — but what exactly is it?
In this article, we will give you a quick overview of the genomics revolution, so you can understand how we are on a path to understanding more than enough genetic-based information to rewrite tomorrow.
The field of genomic research is growing at such a rapid pace that its implications are hard to see, but we will review some insights on how it can change our understanding of the nature of life itself.
An Emerging Science
Recent breakthroughs in genomics, a discipline in genetics, is triggering a renaissance in science helping us develop a deeper understanding of one of the most complex biological systems in the universe — the human brain and body.
The human genome is a vast library — 3 billion DNA base pairs (letters) — and scientists can now assemble and analyze both the function and structure of a genome.
This is possible because every single cell in our body has a copy of our complete set of DNA.
Scientists use ingenious methods to research the genome — like using recombinant DNA and DNA sequencing methods. In the process, researchers leverage and contribute to new sciences like bioinformatics.
This is an interdisciplinary approach to analyzing and interpreting biological data based on a combination of biology, mathematics, statistics, information engineering, computer science.
The Story of Human Evolution
Human evolution has been a long and winding path, and it has always been a huge mystery to us how human beings developed such sophisticated intelligence compared to all other species on our planet.
While many disciplines have given us a glimpse about how we evolved, genomic scientists may be the ones who can finally give us a far more comprehensive picture of the story of human evolution.
This knowledge will do far more than satisfy our curiosity about the origins of our biological structure. Along the way, we may learn enough to determine how to treat diseases based on a person’s unique genome.
We may also learn and how organisms respond to environmental changes.
Collecting Genetic Data
Before scientists can deepen their understanding of genomics, they need to collect samples.
As a result, a whole new industry is developing around genetic data collection. For instance, Ene-Obong, a Nigerian who earned a doctorate in cancer biology from the University of London, has raised $4,500,000 USD for a genomics and AI startup.
His health tech company, 54gene, headquartered in San Francisco with a regional office in Lagos, is planning to build the first biobank of African DNA.
His project has an enormous scope, aspiring to collect samples from the entire continent of Africa!
Where Are We Going?
Addressing the issues of life at the genetic level will give us a far-reaching and deep understanding of many issues. Practically, scientists could edit out a genetic disease from a person’s DNA.
Theoretically, we could not only understand our own species but also our relationship with other species.
This information will help us estimate how a variety of known pollutants and expected climate changes will affect all organisms on our planet in the future.