About

This web resource developed out of the work of the ‘TRANSGENE: Medical Translation and the History of Modern Genomics‘ project at the University of Edinburgh, led by Miguel Garcia-Sancho and funded by the European Research Council’s Horizon 2020 programme. Additionally, this resource has been developed as part of a Beltane Public Engagement Fellowship held by creator and founding editor James Lowe through the Beltane Network.

The structure and overall content of the website have been discussed with a variety of people from many different backgrounds who have contributed insights into what materials and styles of presentation are useful to a range of audiences.

On this basis, we discuss with researchers on particular topics the kinds of articles that would both draw on their expertise and be relevant to potential readers. In addition to this process, we are open to submissions, though we recommend contact with the editor to discuss the article before writing and submission. Submissions may take the form of encyclopaedic articles, blog posts, and infographics, though we are open to discussing other suggested formats.

All articles go through a review process that is led by a scholar in that field, but that draws upon other researchers represented in the University of Edinburgh’s Perspectives on Genetics and Genomics group to ensure that several participants are able to offer constructive evaluations and suggestions to authors in a streamlined yet rigorous process. Based on these discussions, the lead reviewer and the editor outlines what revisions are necessary, checks that these are made and then it can be published. The process is designed to be minimally-bureaucratic for authors while ensuring that the resultant articles are well-written, appropriately structured and relevant, and abides by scholarly standards.

For the blog, the editor reviews and decides on publication, though can consult other scholars to check on content and interpretation.

 

About the TRANSGENE project

The TRANSGENE project combines archival and oral history together with quantitative research analysing the submissions of DNA sequence data to international databases and the networks of collaboration that can be identified as a result.

The project has generated a number of insights into the nature and organisation of genomics research, as well as on the general history of genomics.

These insights include:

  • Genomics has commonly been equated with the Human Genome Project. However, the organisation and practices of genomic research involving humans are quite distinct from those involving other species.
  • Genomics is more than just large-scale sequencing projects conducted in factory-style laboratories. Although these laboratories may be appealing in the popular imagination, there are multiple institutions and collaborations sequencing DNA for a variety of purposes.
  • There is more to genomics than the cutting edge and new; in fact, routine and established activities are of great significance even in a field with such rapid development of techniques and technology.
  • Not all published genomic sequences are made equal (or strictly equivalent), and they do not have equal translational potential.
  • There are many parts of genomics research that are not documented or captured either by publication, recording in laboratory notebooks or being the object of interest for historians of science.

The structure and overall content of this website reflects those insights, though  individual articles may not be based upon them or invoke them. All articles (and blog posts) are and will be informed by the research of TRANSGENE and other projects. The aim of this work and this website is to understand genomics. It constitutes neither a celebration nor a commiseration of the creation of this form of research or its consequences. But it rejects any false neutrality, balance or presumed objectivity, and it also does not intend to serve merely as a compilation of second-hand information.