To ensure that we are in the vanguard of this scientific revolution, we have pooled our partner’s resources and complementary skills into the Medical Research Council Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (IGMM) at The University of Edinburgh. Together, we have critical mass in many key areas, including: cell and molecular biology, biochemistry, developmental biology, human genetics, statistical genetics, model organisms, computational biology, pathology, public health and epidemiology and clinical trials. Furthermore IGMM's strengthened links with NHS doctors gives us much more access to key patient cohorts and clinical expertise.
These are very exciting times for biomedical science. The human genome has been completely sequenced in a few individuals and within a decade or so the $1000 sequence for everyone may become a reality. Now the challenge is to work out how all the genes function together to build a human and how subtle DNA differences help shape human diversity and influence susceptibility to a wide range of common diseases.
This new knowledge will not only help us understand what makes us tick but should lead to identification of individuals at greater risk of disease. As all common diseases arise through a combination of genetic factors and environment, the goal will be to advise susceptible individuals on the lifestyle most likely to reduce their risk and to invite them in for more frequent check-ups. Knowledge of genetic factors in common disease will undoubtedly lead to new drugs targeted to an individual's needs.