“We are living through a new revolution”.
This is a ‘genomics’ revolution. The ease of access to nucleic acid sequence data is growing almost monthly – whereas a decade ago a human genome sequence cost millions of dollars and years of labour, we can now obtain this volume of sequence data in a few days at the cost of cheap car. We can sequence new genomes, compare multiple genomes within populations, or even simultaneously study the thousands of microbial genomes present in an environmental sample.
As in all revolutions, we face challenges: the task of assimilating, manipulating and exploiting these vast volumes of DNA sequence data has required the development of a whole new discipline at the interface of biology and IT; the field of bioinformatics.
The University of Pretoria stands at the forefront of this revolution. Its strategic investments in bioinformatics, in Next Generation Sequencing, and in acquiring and retaining key academic staff all provide a superb basis for the University's latest initiative, the formation of the Institutional Research Theme for Genomics.