Facebook Genomics

    CALGARY, Sept. 23 /CNW/ - Celebrate National Biotechnology Week in Canada
(September 19-26) by giving away a virtual gene on Facebook.
    In addition to the genes already available using the Genomics
application, Genome Alberta will be adding one new gene every week for the
next 12 weeks. This week the featured gene is the CHRNA5 variation that could
leave you weak in the knees for a nicotine buzz. While this gene plays a role
in determining whether or not you get hooked on smoking, like most
characteristics in our genetic make-up genes are only part of the many
physical, social, and environmental factors at work in determining who we are.
    Genome Alberta, a not-for-profit research organization located in Calgary
is making unique use of the Facebook social networking site as a way to get
the word out about genetics and genomics. Since the April launch of the
Genomics application more than 5,000 genes have been given away by users. The
genes already available include the gene for blue eyes and the gene that gives
some sprint athletes a competitive edge. Still to come are the genes that
regulate your biological clock or determine whether men will develop Male
Pattern Baldness.
    Advances in genetics (the study of individual genes) and genomics
(studying the whole collection of genes) has opened up tremendous
opportunities in medicine, agriculture, nutrition and energy production, and
this is a chance to learn more about what the most exciting science of the
21st century. We are all 99% genetically the same, but this application offers
the chance to look at the pieces that make us unique.
    Be part of the exciting new field of science by going to
facebook.genomealberta.ca. For links to the Facebook information or to see the
genes without having to join Facebook, visit us on the web at
    You can also get a glimpse into the human genome by downloading a real
personal genotyping from http://genomealberta.ca/blogs/main_08070801.aspx
    To learn more about National Biotechnology week, the role Biotechnology
plays in the Canadian economy, and to find out the results of a Nanos Research
Public Opinion Poll on biotechnology go to www.imagenenation.ca/

For further information:

For further information: Mike Spear, Genome Alberta, Ph: (403) 503-5222,
Cell: (403) 813-5843, Email: mspear@genomealberta.ca

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