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BRC bringing genetics research into schools: New Teachers’ TV programmes

Human genomics, the study of genetics and the human genome, is poised to become part of UK science lessons thanks to a new programme launched by Nowgen, part of the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre.

The Nowgen Schools Genomics Programme will bring cutting-edge scientific research into schools, exciting pupils about the pace of discovery and engaging them in thinking about how advances in genetics will affect their future lives. The innovative three-year programme is being run by a team of Nowgen clinicians, scientists, national curriculum developers and educationalists.

Traditionally, it can take 10 years or more for new scientific discoveries to become integrated into science teaching. Nowgen's Schools Genomics Programme aims to address this, narrowing the gap between genomics research and classroom genetics. The Wellcome Trust funded project will include seminars for examiners on the latest developments in genomics and healthcare, and will offer students opportunities to visit research establishments.

As part of the programme, a series of television programmes about genomic research have been produced by Nowgen, working with Teachers TV and Glasshead Productions, for GCSE and A-Level students and teachers. The programmes are now available to watch and download from the Teachers TV website at www.teachers.tv/series/genetics-and-medicine.

The project team expects to see some of the outcomes of its work included into GCE A-level specifications in England within the next five years and hopes it will be included in the major review of the GCSE science curriculum, due to be carried out in 2011. Early discussions are also underway with key curriculum developers in Scotland.