Genomics 101 at Penang's Lighthouse Academy, King's Academy and Chung Ling High School

20 February 2019

Human life has always been fascinating because no two individuals are alike. Even between identical twins, don’t expect them to have 100 percent the same DNAs just because they were split from the same cells created through the recombination of DNAs between the parents. The human genome is full of untold stories and that’s why scientists have developed modern tools to study the complete set of genetic material, including genes and other DNA sequences present in a cell.

The study of this is called “genomics”. Through genomics, we are now able to study the whole genome sequence of an individual and determine the genetic variations between individuals. This is particularly useful in medical discoveries where the genes associated with medical conditions can be identified and corrected at DNA level.

As an effort to inspire students and encourage students to study genomics, Monash School of Science has been organising talks and workshops in local high schools. The most recent workshops were conducted by Dr Song Beng Kah at to the Lighthouse Academy, the King’s Academy, and Chung Ling High School in Penang on the 20th of February.

Lighthouse Academy students attempting the genome assembly game

At the three schools, he explained what studying genomics is all about and what some of the job prospects in this field are. The workshop sessions were an interactive one in which the students were tasked to assemble a genome using DNA props. Overall, not only did the students enjoy the session, they have also learned more about genomics.

Career talk at Kings' Academy

Chung Ling High School winners of the genome assembly game