Genome – Launch
GENOME: THE SECRET OF HOW LIFE WORKS LAUNCHES IN JUNE
Preview Featuring Giant Double Helix and Timeline of Related Discoveries Available to the Public April 1 Through May 16, 2003
The Smithsonian Institution will introduce “GENOME: The Secret of How Life Works,” a new 15-city, 5-year traveling exhibit tour that provides an interactive and accessible look at the human genome. The exhibit will open to the public Saturday, June 7, at the Smithsonian Institution’s Arts and Industries Building, Washington, D.C. and will be on display through Sunday, Jan. 4, 2004, before traveling to major science centers and natural history museums nationwide. The exhibit coincides with this year’s 50th anniversary of the modeling of the DNA double helix structure.
“GENOME” is made possible by Pfizer Inc and was produced by Evergreen Exhibitions in collaboration with the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Whitehead Institute/MIT Center for Genome Research.
The 5,000-square-foot exhibit explores the human genome-a person’s entire set of genes-and explains the secret codes that make us who we are and that influence who we might become. “GENOME” uses interactive displays, visually-rich environments and family-friendly activities to reveal the mysteries of our genes, delineate the last two centuries of discovery and unravel the implications of gene therapy for the future of medical science and healthcare. A preview of “GENOME” featuring a giant double helix and timeline of related discoveries is available for public viewing at the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building from April 1, 2003 to May 16, 2003.
“The understanding of the human genome opens up an entirely new frontier for health science research, and it is anticipated that it will lead to new therapies and cures for devastating diseases. However, many people are unaware of the genome or its potential to enhance our lives,” said Dr. Peter B. Corr, Senior Vice President, Science and Technology, Pfizer Inc. “We believe engaging and educating families through interactive exhibits such as ‘GENOME’ will help them better understand how future discoveries can directly and positively impact their health.”
The exhibit will showcase a number of unique learning tools specifically designed to help school children and their parents understand the genome’s function and its role in daily life. They include the following:
Giant Double Helix: An eight foot tall, 25 foot long display of DNA’s double helix structure.
• Hereditary Slot Machines: A working slot machine that demonstrates the odds that children will inherit genes for certain characteristics.
• The Cookie Factory: A visualization of protein production in terms that children and adults alike can grasp, with DNA, genes and proteins as the ingredients and recipes for “making” human beings.
• Discovery Theater: An opportunity to meet the minds that were instrumental in the discoveries leading up to the sequencing of the human genome.
The exhibit will answer common questions and correct frequently-held misconceptions that surround the human genome, tackling topics such as genetic predetermination, the nature of mutations and the very slight differences in genetic material that separate one human being from another.
“As part of its mission, the National Institutes of Health, through the National Human Genome Research Institute, is helping scientists find the molecular basis of human genetic diseases,” said NHGRI Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “Educational initiatives like this exhibit help people appreciate the significance of the incredible milestones they’re hearing about in human DNA research.”
Founded in 1849, Pfizer is the world’s largest research-based pharmaceutical company taking new approaches to better health. Pfizer discovers and develops innovative medicines to treat and help prevent disease for both people and animals. Through consistent, high quality manufacturing and distribution operations, Pfizer medicines reach patients in 180 nations. Pfizer also partners with health care providers, governments, and local communities around the world to expand access to our medicines and to provide better quality healthcare and health system support. Pfizer colleagues work everyday to help people stay happier and healthier longer and to reduce the human and economic burden of disease worldwide.
Evergreen Exhibitionsprovides state-of-the-art family educational experiences, and serves as a major development partner with more than 200 leading museums and research institutions (http://www.evergreenexhibitions.com).
The National Institutes of Health (NIH), serving as a partner in content collaboration, is the principal biomedical and behavioral research agency of the United States government and one of the world’s foremost medical research centers. The NIH, comprised of 27 separate institutes and centers, conducts a wide range of genetic and genomic research into the cause and treatment of disorders including those of the heart and brain, as well as cancer.
The Whitehead Institute/MIT Center for Genome Researchis an international leader in the field of genomics, the study of all of the genes in an organism and how they function together in health and disease. A flagship of the Human Genome Project, the Center today houses a broad range of thriving research programs combining structural genomics, medical and population genetics, and clinical medicine. The Whitehead Institute/MIT Genome Center is led by Dr. Eric Lander and employs 350 people, including scientists and medical researchers from Whitehead, MIT, and Harvard.
For more information about the Smithsonian and “GENOME’s” stay at the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building, please contact Mary Combs, Office of Public Affairs, (202) 357-2627 ext. 121.
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Source: Evergreen Exhibitions