Genomics Lite: Human Genetic Variation Series

Exploring genetic variation in humans and how it contributes to health and medicine.

This series will explore genetic variation amongst humans, how this can affect disease and medicine.

This series has now finished, but you can watch recordings of the sessions below and continue to use the learning resources.

Session 1. Human Genetic Variation in context with Susan Fairley

We’ll be joined by Susan Fairley, and discussing what Human Genetic Variation is, what causes it and the legacy of the Human Genome Project.

Session 2. Human Genetic Variation in the lab with Menna Ghouraba and Katie Burnham

We’ll be looking at how Human Genetic Variationin relation to health and medicine is researched in the lab.

Session 3. Human Genetic Variation and career pathways with Campus Researchers

We’ll be joined by a number of researchers from the Wellcome Genome Campus to discuss how they got into the field of Human Genetic Variation.

Session 4. Human Genetic Variation the big questions with Richard Milne

We’ll be joined by Richard Milne, from the Society and Ethics Group at the Wellcome Genome Campus, and exploring some of the ethical and societal implications associated with genetic variation.

Learning Resources

What is genetic variation?

  • Genetic variation makes each human different, and drives evolution via natural selection. Find out more about how this happens and what it can affect.
  • Changes in genes can cause genetic disorders, some of which can be inherited: find out more about what genetic disorders are and how genetic inheritance works. Some genetic conditions are caused by a single gene, whereas other are caused by multiple factors including lifestyle factors.
  • Find out more about how genetic variation is being accounted for in the Pangenome project:

Human evolution

Genetic testing

  • Genetic tests allow patients to find out whether they carry genes for a certain disease, and how likely they are to pass that on to their children. Find out more about genetic testing and genetic counselling.
  • More recently, commericial or direct-to-consumer genetic testing has become more popular. These tests are relatively inexpensive and can provide the consumer with information about their genetic ancestory as well as susceptibility to certain genetic conditions. Watch this video to hear more about these tests from the perspectives of people who have taken a direct-to-consumer genetic test?, some who have decided against it, and some who haven’t yet made up their minds.

Careers in Genomics and Genetic Counselling

  • Check out this NHS education site for information about different roles in genomics and genetic counselling, including what these roles involve and what career routes to these jobs might look like.

Activity: Genome Generations

  • There are many important personal, social and ethical questions surrounding genomic advances. Use the Genome Generation activity (or the Express version) to explore different scenarios and the questions they raise.