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Personal Genomes: From Ancestry and Identity to Health

Personal Genomes: From Ancestry and Identity to Health

The genetic blueprint for our bodies contains over 3 billion letters, and we have just started to unravel the meaning of these genomic instrauctions. With many companies offering to analyse your genomes, both for ancestry and health related purposes, and the recent development of pocket sized genome readers, there is an urgent need to get a good understanding of how to use this information to benefit our future health.

Professor Colin Palmer highlighted in this talk that genetic information is helping increase knowledge of genetic blueprints and helping provide new health benefits. He said: "Every day in Scotland, many thousands of samples of blood are discarded after use, but we are asking the public to let us use that blood to boost research into diseases". That is the goal of the GoSHARE initiative, where over 25,000 people in Tayside and Fife have given permission for any excess blood from routine clinical testing to be stored for use in genetic research.

Genetic research is also valuable in gaining an understanding of why people develop different conditions and why certain treatments work well for some people and not others. The study of gene variations will eventually allow the development of more tailored drug treatments specific to individual patients.

GoSHARE is one element of the Scottish Health Research Register (SHARE) project which is a partnership between the NHS, Government and Universities in Scotland to develop a research register of people aged 16 or over and living in Scotland who have agreed to be informed about health research projects that they may be interested in taking part in. There is no obligation to take part in any specific study and it is up to the individual to decide at the time whether they wish to partake in the research. 

The talk given by Professor Colin Palmer was very well attended and we thank all of those who whilst at the talk also registered for GoSHARE.

If you didn't get a chance to register for GoSHARE at the event or you would like to know more about the GoSHARE initiative please visit

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