Our Challenge

Science experiements.

We want to advance understanding of the genome, the microbiome and their interaction with the environment, and to use this knowledge to benefit humanity in a just, broad-based and responsible manner—truly a grand challenge of our time.

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A genome is the entire DNA sequence in each cell of the body. Genomics is the analysis of complete genomes, including the human genome and those of the microbiomes that live in and on us (the microbiome). Advances in genomics, including research on the microbiome (sometimes referred to as our second genome) and the interplay of the environment, promise significant changes in health care and medicine, and our collective sense of what it means to be human.

In the coming years, genomic medicine will impact the lives of all Americans. Genomic literacy is truly a fundamental life skill for the 21st century. Even health care providers are often not confident in their ability to provide genetic-based health services to their patients. Therefore we must effectively engage and educate all members of our community.