Genomics is ‘the study of the total or part of the genetic or epigenetic sequence information of organisms, and attempts to understand the structure and function of these sequences and downstream biological products’.(1)
The field of genomics relies on collecting genetic information about global populations. Biobanks – databases of biomedical records – have been set up worldwide to gather and store data for use by the scientific community to understand the genetic causes of disease. For example, the UK Biobank hold in-depth genetic and health information from half a million volunteers in the UK. This includes blood samples, scan images, and lifestyle and physical data.
Genomic data is vital for ongoing research into the most common and life-threatening diseases. More personalised treatments can be developed if the genetic cause can be established. There is hope that by building on our genomics foundation, it will become easier to prevent diseases.
The UK is a world leader in the industrialisation of genomic data and its use in healthcare. Since 2017, UK genomics companies have raised £1.8bn of venture investment and £35.7m in public grants.(2)
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