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What is Genomics

Genomics is the study of genomes.

What is a Genome

The term genome refers to all the DNA contained in the cells of our body. Contains all the information to "make you, run you and repair you". More formally it is an organisms complete set of DNA, including all of its genes.

What is DNA

DNA is a code made up of a four letter alphabet : A, C, G, T. These are called bases. The order of this code changes from person to person to make you who you are.

If you wrote down all the DNA letters contained in one cell, it would be 3 Billion letters long! So if you queued all the DNA contained in your body, you could go from the earth to the moon 6000 times.

How can all this DNA fit into one person

It coils and coils until it fits into a compact structure called a chromosome

What is a Chromosome

A human has 23 pairs of chromosomes (46 in total) in each cell. We get 1/2 of the chromosomes from the father and the other half from the mother.


In 1990 the Human Genome Project got started. It took 13 years and cost USD 2.7 Billion. Since 2017 there have been advancements made which make this sequencing much faster and more affordable.

Why is it interesting to scientists

Scientists want to understand the unique variations in our genomes. With genomics we can understand what variations in the genome trigger what variation in the overal body. Potentially allowing us to alter human genes to get a desired look or feature (hair color, eyes etc.). Most of these variations have no effect on our health but some have been proven to cause certain health conditions. The variations in the genomes can determine our propensity to develop a disease, how it progresses and how we respond to medications.

Our genome is not the only factor influencing our health. Environment and lifestyle: food, activity levels and stress also play a part.

Difference between Genomics and Genetics

Genomics has a broad approach in studying genes as a system of interactions that produce a certain outcome in the organism. Whereas Genetics focuses on a single gene; it's inner composition, functioning and influence in inheritance.

In contrast to genetics, which refers to the study of individual genes and their roles in inheritance, genomics aims at the collective characterization and quantification of all of an organism's genes, their interrelations and influence on the organism. Source: Wikipedia