In April of 1953, colour televisions were just
hitting the stores in North America and Watson and Crick announced they had
figured out the double helix structure of DNA. Now 55 years later you can
watch colour TV on your cell phone and buy a personal genome sequence for less
than a thousand dollars.
One more milestone to go. On April 25th, 2008 you could be among the
first to give away a gene on Facebook!
Genome Alberta, a not-for-profit research organization located in
Calgary, Alberta is marking the anniversary of the double helix and of the
sequencing of the human genome in April 2003, by offering virtual genes as
gifts on Facebook.
There will be 12 gene gifts available by going to
facebook.genomealberta.ca ,and there will be more genes available soon. Each
gene gift has a brief description of the gene and its function, a special icon
designed for the project, and links to more information.
Advances in genetics (the study of individual genes) and genomics
(studying the whole collection of genes) has opened up tremendous
opportunities in medicine, agriculture, nutrition and energy production, and
this is a chance to learn more about what the most exciting science of the
21st century. We are all 99% genetically the same, but this is a chance to
look at the pieces that make us unique.