Explore nature's genetic secrets in new exhibition
Why do some brown trout migrate to the open ocean, whilst others don’t? How do robins “see” the magnetic fields of the Earth? Why are red squirrels vulnerable to the squirrel pox virus, when grey squirrels are not? The answers are hiding in their genes.
Discover how genome sequencing is helping us uncover much more about the world around us in Wellcome Genome Campus’ new family-friendly exhibition, Curious Nature.
The exhibition can be visited during monthly Open Saturdays at the Wellcome Genome Campus. It is free to attend but booking is required. Open Saturday dates in 2018 include 18th August, 15th September, 20th October, 17th November, 15th December, as well as 19th January 2019.
Curious Nature explores the Wellcome Sanger Institute’s 25th anniversary project to sequence the genomes of 25 UK species* for the first time. The newly-sequenced genomes will act as powerful tools for a global community of researchers and conservationists. They will lead to future studies into the biodiversity of the UK and aid the conservation and understanding of these species.
The 25 species are divided into five categories depending on the qualities they share:
- Flourishing, species on the up in the UK
- Floundering, endangered and declining species
- Dangerous, invasive and harmful species
- Iconic, quintessentially British species that we all recognise
- Cryptic, species that are out of sight or indistinguishable from others based on looks alone.
The species were nominated by a wide-ranging community of researchers, and five of them were chosen by thousands of school children and members of the public around the globe. The species chosen build a picture of biodiversity in the UK, and all of the results will be made publicly available.
“For centuries, humans have classified and interpreted the natural world, to understand how things are related to each other. Our ability to analyse the genetic information of all living things, encoded in their DNA, is enabling us to explore these similarities and differences in greater detail than ever before. Creating a reference genome is not an easy task, but once the 25 genomes are complete, they will unlock nature’s secrets in a way that was not possible before.”
Rebecca Gilmore, Exhibitions and Interpretation Co-ordinator from the Wellcome Genome Campus Public Engagement team