Genomics roundup: Understanding the science

In 2003, the Human Genome Project announced that it had officially completed its goal of sequencing the human genome. Since then, genomics has continued to explode in importance as a scientific subject, with potentially game-changing applications emerging in the medical field, agriculture, animal health, food safety and beyond.

The layman’s understanding of genomics, and how it impacts their own lives, has raced to keep up with the scientific advances of the past 15 years. We’ve tried to help. Here’s a roundup of the genomics topics we’ve provided primers on.

The basics

Genomics: What’s a SNP? — Genomics is the study of the genome, which is the entirety of a living thing’s DNA. And one of the key elements of genomics is the SNP, pronounced “snip.”

Genomics vs genetics: What’s the difference, and what do they mean for agriculture? — Do you understand the differences between genetics and genomics? Not everyone realizes the different goals and methods of these two different, yet often tied, fields.

Its applications

What’s genomic testing, and what does it have to do with beef? — The rapidly budding importance of genomics in agriculture probably can’t be overstated. It’s increasingly common for cattle producers (and others in the animal protein industry) to rely on genomic testing to make informed decisions regarding their herd. Here’s how that works.

Genomic testing reveals most common shelter dog breeds — Genomic testing is the technology behind those popular ancestry DNA tests so many are taking these days. Here’s how similar processes are used to reveal breed and health information about animals like dogs.

Genome of wheat, the world’s most common crop, sequenced after 13 years — It’s not all about animals. Unraveling, or “sequencing,” the genomes of globally important crops could help feed the world.

Food safety uses

FDA’s GenomeTrakr supports food safety around the globe — Genomics is now being used to investigate foodborne illness outbreaks, identifying specific strains of pathogens involved.

The advantages of metagenomics over genome sequencing — Neogen’s Joe Heinzelmann breaks down the different kinds of genomics used in food safety investigations.

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