‘Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code’ at McWane Science Center now until May 19


“Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code” 3D animation. Photo via McWane Science Center

Have you ever pondered why your hair is curly or where you got those adorable dimples? Maybe you’ve wondered if you’re prone to certain diseases and whether they’re preventable. Find answers to these questions when you visit McWane Science Center’s newest immersive, high-tech exhibit—“Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code”—on display now until May 19.

Behind the Exhibit

The Smithsonian Institution partnered with the National Institutes of Health to create “Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code,” its first state-of-the-art exhibition about genomic science. It opened January 19 at McWane Science Center in partnership with UAB Medicine.

So, What’s a Genome?

A genome is an organism’s complete set of genetic instructions, aka DNA. Each genome contains all the information needed to build and maintain that organism. Confused?

Unlock your code at McWane Science Center’s newest exhibit, “Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code.” Photo via McWane Science Center

Let’s use you as an example. Your genome is basically your body’s very own instruction manual. Each step in your manual helped build you into who you are and may be in the future. Pretty incredible, isn’t it?

According to Kirk Johnson, Sant Director, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, genomic research is a vital tool for exploring the mysteries of the natural world.

The Exhibit

“Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code” is an immersive, high-tech exhibit on revolutionary genomic science. It’s purpose: to examine the complexities of the genome and chronicle the remarkable breakthroughs that have taken place since the completion of the Human Genome Project over a decade ago.

“Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code” 3D animation. Photo via McWane Science Center

The exhibit is organized around three galleries—all of which allow you to immerse yourself in personalized and interactive experiences. During your exploration of the genome, you’ll discover:

  • What a genome is.
  • How it is related to medicine and health.
  • How it connects humans to all life on the planet.
“Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code” 3D animation. Photo via McWane Science Center

Extending 4,400 square feet (whoa!), the exhibit includes all sorts of cool and intriguing features, too, such as:

  • The latest imagery on genomics
  • Hands-on and media interactives
  • 3D models
  • Custom animations
  • Videos of real-life stories and interviews with researchers

UAB’s Role in Genomics

When you hear the name UAB mentioned, it’s usually related to their incredible medical programs. But did you know that UAB is also Alabama’s leader in genomic medicine?

“Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code”. Photo via McWane Science Center

“UAB is thrilled to sponsor this exhibit and share it with the city of Birmingham and state of Alabama. We hope this exhibit will help visitors to understand the role that the genomic science plays in health and disease and motivate the young people of Alabama to consider genomic medicine as a potential career path.”

Bruce R. Korf, M.D., Ph.D., chief genomics officer at UAB and co-director of the Alabama Genomic Health Initiative

Discover Your Genome Mysteries

Curious to learn more about the “Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code” exhibit? Me too! Then grab your tickets and  visit McWane Science Center anytime from now until May 19. The exhibit will be open daily during regular museum hours (Mon.-Fri. – 9AM-5PM; Sat.-Sun. – 10AM-6PM). What mysteries will be revealed about your genome?

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