Leading Experts in Genetics and Society Coming to Alberta

    CALGARY, Aug. 24 /CNW/ - Starting for as little at $99.00 US and ranging
up to a few thousand dollars, consumers can have their genome sequenced. Not a
complete sequence but enough to tell if you are likely to have Rheumatoid
Arthritis, start losing your eyesight or kick your partner in bed because you
have Restless Legs Syndrome.
    Some people say this is a big step on the road to personalized medicine
while critics suggest it is simply recreational genetic testing. Will it help
reduce health care costs or send people running needlessly to their doctor?
And what is the true clinical value of direct-to-consumer genetic testing?
    This September 16th - 18th geneticists, clinicians, lawyers, and
ethicists from around the world will come to Banff for the Age of Personalized
Genomics Conference. This is the 5th International DNA Sampling Conference and
much has changed since the first one in 1997. Sequencing costs have fallen
dramatically, the human genome project has been completed, and our knowledge
of genetics has increased exponentially. What has not changed as rapidly are
the policies and regulatory changes necessary to deal with this new biology of
the 21st century.
    The Age of Personalized Genomics Conference will bring together people
with the background and experience to address several key areas:

    -  Current state of the science
    -  Research ethics and governance challenges
    -  Integration of personalized genomics into health care
    -  Media and popular representation of personal genomics
    -  Commercialization of personalized genomics and regulation of
       direct-to-consumer genetic testing

    The conference is being organized by the Genome Alberta and Genome Canada
funded project "Translating Science: Genomics and Health Systems" based at the
University of Alberta.
    For a full conference agenda and speaker bios go to

    About Genome Alberta

    Genome Alberta is a publicly funded organization that initiates, funds,
and manages genomics research and partnerships. We were established in 2005 as
part of Alberta's Life Sciences Strategy through an initiative between the
Alberta Government and federally funded Genome Canada.
    Genome Alberta is based in Calgary but leads projects at institutions
around the province and participates in a variety of other projects based
across the country. We are one of Canada's six Genome Centres and work closely
with these centres to advance the science and application of genomics,
metabolomics, and many of the related 'omics'.
    Apart from the scientific contributions and advances that comes out of
our research we contribute directly to the economy and have put almost 20
million dollars into salaries, benefits and consumables since we were created
in mid 2005.
    We are open to new research initiatives and can facilitate research
through our ability to leverage public and private funding, monitor the work
through our independent science review process, and provide specialised
science project management services.

    APG Conference website: www.genomealberta.ca/APG
    Genome Alberta url: www.genomealberta.ca
    Downloadable genetic sequences: www.genomealberta.ca/PersonalGenotyping/
    GenOmics on Facebook: facebook.genomealberta.ca

For further information:

For further information: To arrange an interview with one of the
conference organizers or with Communications Director Mike Spear who has had
his genome sequenced by 4 different commercial testing services, please
contact: Mike Spear, Director of Communications, Genome Alberta, ph: (403)
503-5222, cell: (403) 813-5843, e-mail: mspear@genomealberta.ca, Twitter:

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Genome Alberta

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