- Posted by Fabrice Boucherat
- On May 19, 2019
- 0 Comments
Genomes – or how are you related to everyone else in the room
Our genomes hold the key to pretty much everything — or, at least, so runs a lot of advertising copy these days. From the privacy of your own home, you can now spit into a tube to divine your ancestry, unknowingly help solve a 40-year old murder case, or have someone in California sell you a handpicked box of wine matched to your DNA.
It is true that our species’ past is writ large within each of our cells, a story we finally have the means to read. Our understanding of the genetic nature of traits — things like height, and weight, and your risk of cardiovascular disease, or harmful medication side effects — too, has been transformed in the 16 years since the sequencing of ‘the’ human genome. But as we pass one million human genomes in our databases, there are risks to uncritically heeding the siren song of genetics. I will discuss what these technologies can and cannot deliver, why not all of us stand to gain from the precision medicine revolution today, and why you’re not actually related to most of your relatives, but you are to everyone else in the room.
Irene Gallego Romero got her BA in Biological Sciences at the University of Chicago, followed by a PhD in Biological Anthropology at Cambridge, being at Gonville and Caius. She studies the contributions of gene regulatory change to human and primate evolution, whether recent or ancient. Her research is both computational and experimental, and she has a long-standing interest in the development of robust analytical methods and pipelines for niche high-throughput sequencing data, including interspecies comparisons. Currently a lecturer in systems genetics at Melbourne Integrative Genomics, and a member of the School of BioSciences and the Centre for Stem Cell Systems at the University of Melbourne, she was awarded a Sir Henry Wellcome Trust Fellowship as a postdoctoral researcher to establish pluripotent stem cell lines from non-human apes as a resource for comparative primate genomics. Since moving to Australia in 2017 her research has focused on the evolutionary challenges of peopling Island Southeast Asia.
This lunch will take place at the Savage Club in Bank Place at 12 noon for 12.30pm. The Club is at 12 Bank Place (off Collins Street) in the City. Cost is $55 including drinks. All guests are most welcome; the more the better. Would you please advise Peter Baines at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 9820 2334 by latest Monday noon, 17th June, if you will be coming (and dietary requirements). Those emailing their intention to attend should ring Peter to confirm if they receive no email confirmation from him within 24 hours of booking