One of the fascinating themes emerging from the talks here is how researchers are really getting to grips with how our genetics make us each so individual. Studies have shown how the structures of our genomes is surprisingly varied, and how there are intriguing differences on the genes governing senses such as smell and taste. One talk that triggered a lot of interest and debate here in the press room was given by Lynn Jorde from the University of Utah, who presented work about how the different versions of bitter taste receptors you were born with influence what kinds of foods and flavours you like. Read more
You don’t often get to hear about the emotional side of a scientist’s work. But at today’s session on “Genetics in disasters”, researchers who helped identify victims of the 2004 asian tsunami and the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center spoke about their experiences, and explained why they thought geneticists were especially affected. Read more
Ask people what they associate with Finland and the one thing everyone mentions is they’ve heard the language is fiendishly difficult. It certainly is—especially, if, like me, you are trying to get an uncooperative ( and non-English speaking) ticket machine to sell you a train ticket back to your hotel after a long day at the Human Genome Meeting in Helsinki. Still, the experience does make me sympathise with the scientists who are trying to decode the information encrypted in our DNA. Because if my Berlitz pocket phrasebook is anything to go by, it seems as though the human genome is written in Finnish. Read more
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