UBC Reports | Vol. 49 | No. 10 | Oct.
The Geee! In Genome
Celebrating 50 years of DNA research
By Hilary Thomson
Canadas first national travelling exhibition on the
science of genomics -- including a special module honouring
the legacy of the late Michael Smith, UBC professor of biotechnology
who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1993 -- opened
Oct. 2 at Vancouvers Science World and runs to Jan.
Called The Geee! in Genome, the exhibit coincides with the
50th anniversary of the landmark scientific publication by
James Watson and Francis Crick that described the double helix
structure of DNA. The exhibition explores topics ranging from
the ABCs of DNA, genes and genomics to the impact of this
emerging field of science on agriculture, the environment
and human health.
I think its wonderful that this Canada-wide
exhibit has travelled to Vancouver first because B.C. scientists
have been so instrumental in developing the knowledge base
that we call genomics, says Prof. Sid Katz, UBCs
executive director, Community Affairs, who helped develop
the exhibit. We hope the exhibit sparks a lot of public
dialogue, not only about health, but also about fisheries,
forestry, agriculture -- everything connected with genome
The Geee! in Genome visitors will be introduced to the intricate
functions of genes and cells and they will learn and have
an opportunity to debate controversial ethical issues such
as genetic testing, gene therapy, human cloning, genetically
modified organisms, labelling and safety, DNA databanks and
Katz worked on the exhibit with David Ng, who directs the
Advanced Molecular Biology Lab at UBCs Biotechnology
Lab, and Asst. Prof. David Anderson of the Faculty of Education.
The team also helped create the workshop experience for visitors
to the exhibit, the curriculum-based school programs as well
as local speakers forums to be held at Science World.
Michael Smith was director of B.C. Cancer Agencys Genome
Sequence Centre in Vancouver and founding director of the
UBC Biotechnology Lab. The Nobel Prize recognized his groundbreaking
work in reprogramming segments of DNA, the building blocks
of life. His work is credited by peers as launching a new
era in genetics research. His legacy continues with the recent
achievement of the agency being the first in the world to
sequence the SARS virus.
The exhibit was produced by the Canadian Museum of Nature
and is presented nationally by Genome Canada, in partnership
with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The exhibit
is hosted by Science World and presented locally by Genome
The exhibition will visit about nine cities across Canada
over a three-year period. For more information on the exhibit
and the public forum schedule, visit www.genomebc.ca.