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Whole Genome Sequencing: Decoding the Language of Life and Health

Health Education England via FutureLearn

This course may be unavailable.


Whole genome sequencing is a relatively new technology that allows us to ‘read’ a person’s or organism’s entire genetic code. But how does it work and what does it mean for all of us? How do scientists and clinicians begin to make sense of the vast amount of information that whole genome sequencing provides? And how will this new sequencing technology be used for the benefit of both patients in the new NHS Genomic Medicine Service in England and those with infectious diseases such as Covid-19?

Learn how genome sequencing works

This course will take you behind the scenes to explore this technology and its power to revolutionise healthcare around the world. You will be given a unique insight into modern genomics laboratories and state of the art sequencing facilities, led by the doctors and scientists who are regularly using whole genome sequencing to shape decisions about patient care and appropriate treatments.

You will be introduced to - or have a recap on - the fundamentals of DNA and genetic variation, before exploring the process of whole genome sequencing and the ways in which the resultant data can be analysed and used to benefit patients. Leading scientists and genomics experts will explore the potential and limitations of this new technology, and the ethical questions that arise when we can ‘read a person’s genome’.

Explore how whole genome sequencing affects healthcare

Throughout the course you will be introduced to a range of case studies and scenarios where whole genome sequencing is having a profound impact on healthcare, including in the fields of cancer, rare disease and infectious disease. You will also be given the most up to date information about the transition to the new NHS Genomic Medicine Service in England and the way in which the pioneering 100,000 Genomes Project has paved the way for this exciting new service.

The course has been designed for healthcare professionals and science/medical students who have limited or no understanding of the who genome sequencing process and its many varied uses. Non-specialists who want to learn more about sequencing and genomic medicine are also very welcome.

You don’t need an in-depth knowledge of genetics, as this course will provide a recap on the basics. The course is designed in such a way that you can move as quickly or slowly as you wish; so, while some scientific knowledge will be beneficial, the course is open to anyone who wants to learn about whole genome sequencing and its impact in healthcare.

If you’re a healthcare professional, you may find it useful to upgrade this course to support your continuing professional development (CPD). By upgrading, you’ll be able to take this course at your own pace and revisit the material at any time in future. Once you complete the course, you’ll receive a Certificate of Achievement as evidence of your CPD. This includes details of what you learnt and the number of learning hours required.

Taught by

Samantha Butler, Michelle Bishop and Anneke Seller


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