Every living organism, including ourselves, has a genome, which provides all the instructions necessary for growth and development. Understanding how genomes work offers many potential benefits to society, but also raises questions about how we use and regulate that knowledge.

This resource was written by Dr Emma Weitkamp

Useful links


Funded by the ESRC, Innogen is the Centre for Social and Economic Research on Innovation in Genomics. Innogen’s research aims to provide a sound base for decision-making in science, industry, policy and public arenas related to the life sciences. Further information can be found at the Innogen website.


The ESRC Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (Cesagen) was established in October 2002 as a collaboration between the Universities of Cardiff and Lancaster. Cesagen is a multidisciplinary centre in which staff from social sciences and humanities work closely with natural and medical sciences to address the social, economic and policy aspects of developments in genomics. Further information can be found at the Cesagen website.

Graphic Science - Genome Generation

Working with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Graphic Science developed a card-based discussion game, designed to encourage dialogue about the social and ethical issues associated with genetic and genomic science. Further information about the project and game can be found on the Graphic Science website


Personalised genomics:

Synthetic biology: