Our Genes and Tonic events are open to all to learn about genetics in a fun and interactive way. They are designed to accommodate learners of all levels and with a range of interests in the field of legal and ethical implications of genomics. In November we held our second annual Genes & Tonic event and had an excellent turn out.

DNA Extraction and other learning activities

The activities included a wet lab where you could try out live DNA extraction, the always popular DNA Origami, and a rather pungent can of spray, that only some of the attendees could smell due to a specific DNA variation.

 

Panel discussions

Professor Yulia Kovas chaired a panel discussion about genetics and education, looking at how each of these disciplines can benefit the other. Joining her were Joe Gordon, a secondary school teacher and Natalie Jones, a primary school teacher currently studying at Masters level and the UCL Institute of Education. Many of the issues raised during this discussion were also asked during a recent Reddit AMA. For answers to these and many other questions please see our FAQ pages.

Talks

Fatos Selita, TAGC’s expert on Genetics, Law and Ethics, gave a talk on legal and ethical implications of genetics, including on matters related to regulation of genetic data processing, genetic privacy and genetic discrimination.  During the talk and throughout the event, Fatos responded to attendees’ questions and concerns, about potential uses of genetic information to the benefit and disadvantage of individuals, as well as how genetic information can be used ethically for the benefit of all people.

 

 

People from various professions and students of different disciplines attended the event and all talks were in high demand.

Saskia Selzam, a PhD student at King’s College London talked about how we can use large genome-wide association studies to make individual-level genetic prediction for educationally relevant traits, such as school achievement and general intelligence. This is an exciting new era of genetics research and makes use of a method called Polygenic scoring. To see Saskia talking about her research with Emily please click here.

 

Emily Wylde, who has been working with the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS) at King’s College for several years, introduced the twin method during her talk. The Twin method allows researchers to look at the relative contributions of genes and environments to trait development and there are many such studies around the world. If you’d like to know a bit more about the type of research being done with twins you might be interested in our Commentary section.

Drinks and entertainment

A range of refreshments were available, including GIN & TONIC. There was a pleasant and entertaining atmosphere throughout the evening.

The event also included a bingo game to test in an enjoyable way what attendees had learned from the event.

The event was overall a great success. For more information, please feel free to email us.