“Genome: The Secret to How Life Works” exhibit opens at Bush Library

COLLEGE STATION − A traveling exhibit called “Genome: The Secret of How Life Works” will explore the nature and impact of our genes through visually-rich environments, interactive displays and family-friendly activities. The exhibit opened Aug. 25, 2012, at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station.

The exhibit, scheduled to run through July 5, 2013, is sponsored by Texas A&M AgriLife Research in cooperation with the Texas A&M University Whole Systems Genomics Initiative, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the Department of Animal Science, along with media partner KBTX Media.

In 1989, President George H.W. Bush signed into law the appropriations for the Human Genome Project. The project of mapping the human genome was completed in 2003. It accomplished its mission of identifying more than 20,000 genes in human DNA and determining the complete sequence of the 3 billion DNA subunits (basis of the human genome).

A portion of the remaining funds from the Human Genome Project was made available for genome research in animals and included funding awarded to the Baylor College of Medicine in collaboration with Texas A&M University for the Bovine Genome Initiative. The genome sequence of cattle was published in 2009. Faculty and students in the Department of Animal Science and the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences were instrumental in this effort.

The traveling genome exhibit is designed for all ages and explains the discoveries made as a result of the Human Genome Project including the secret codes that make us who we are and influence who we might become. The exhibit provides visitors with the opportunity to explore the depths of DNA in a way never before possible.

“We are excited to partner with the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum to showcase both the accomplishments of the Human Genome Project and the important contributions to many genome projects made by Texas A&M students, staff and faculty,” said Dr. Penny Riggs, assistant professor in the Department of Animal Science and chair of the exhibit steering committee.

“These exhibits provide a wonderful opportunity for us to share our work with the community, and to show how this research leads to advancements in agricultural productivity, human and animal health, and influences economics, policy, ethics, and business.”

In conjunction with the genome exhibit, rotating ancillary exhibits will highlight the achievements of the Whole Systems Genomics Initiative, featuring genomics research conducted at Texas A&M University and Texas A&M AgriLife Research such as the Bovine Genome Initiative and the Brahman bull cloning project (Second Chance).

An opening gala is scheduled for Sept. 6 at 6:30 p.m. to formally launch the exhibit. Related events also will be held at the library in conjunction with the exhibit including the Texas Genetics Society annual meeting April 25-27, 2013.

Additionally, a series of speakers will present information on the relevance of genomics in society. Dr. Ronald L. Phillips, regents professor emeritus from the University of Minnesota, will serve as the first speaker on Sept. 18, 2012, at 7 p.m. at the library. He will present, “Norman Borlaug and the future of the Green Revolution.” RSVP to Tracy Paine at reservations.bush@nara.gov.

For more information on “Genome: The Secret of How Life Works” traveling exhibit, please visit bushlibrary.tamu.edu/genome. For more information on the Whole System Genomics Initiative at Texas A&M University, go to genomics.tamu.edu/.


For more information regarding news from the Department of Animal Science, please contact Courtney Coufal at cacoufal@tamu.edu or call (979) 845-1542.

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