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Students take part in workshop run by Oxford NHS Genomic Medicine Centre

Posted on: 21/09/2017

Do you like sprouts? Your answer depends on your DNA!

As part of Genomics Week, eighteen year 11 students took part in a workshop led by Jennifer Whitfield and her colleagues from the Oxford NHS Genomic Medicine Centre (GMC). Genomics is the study of the genome, the complete set of genetic information in an organism. The students discovered that a small difference in a person’s DNA sequence determines whether or not they can taste a bitter chemical which gives sprouts their distinctive and to some, unpleasant taste. Once they knew whether or not they were a “taster”, students decoded the relevant section of their genome and made a bracelet to show how that section of DNA codes for a particular sequence of amino acids, which in turn determines whether or not they can taste the chemical.

They also learned about current research on the human genome, genetic screening and genetic disorders, discussed ethical issues about these areas of medical research with NHS scientists and found out about the varied roles of scientists within the NHS.

We are grateful to the GMC team for sharing their knowledge and expertise with our students, and for showing us that if you really don’t like sprouts it may be all due to your genes.


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