What is Genomics?

Genomics is the study of our genes - the DNA contained in the cells of our body that acts as a blueprint for a human being.

Genomics – the science inside us all

Each of us has a slightly different DNA sequence that sets out who we are, how we work… and even how we can be repaired. Studying our DNA can help us with an amazing range of health-related characteristics, including:

  • understanding disease risk
  • predicting our response to medications
  • pointing the way to new treatments and cures
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    DNA – up close and personalised

    The famous double-helix structure of our DNA contains a lot of information; there may only be four building blocks to it (A, C, G and T) but every strand of our DNA contains 3.2 billion of these letters.

    Technological advances mean we can now decode a person’s genome in days, compared to the 13 years it took to complete the first ever genomic map. This has made genomic research a viable and revolutionary new front in the pursuit of improved human health.

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    Humankind needs you!

    Of course the study of DNA needs DNA samples from as broad a population as possible. Furthermore, as an island population, Irish genomic information offers unique benefits to researchers.

    So if you have a couple of hours and 20ml (less than two tablespoons) of blood to spare, we’d love for you to get involved.

    Tens of thousand of people in Ireland have already participated in our research. Here are just some of their amazing stories.

    Patient Story
    Caradh O'Donovan, Karate Champion and IBD Patient

    “In 2014, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease which forced me to reassess my career as an elite athlete. Due to the amazing treatment and care I received, I can now manage the disease and continue doing what I love the most. GMI’s goal is that, through genomics, IBD patients like me won’t have to discover their condition at an advanced stage, usually by accident and often painfully. In the future, I hope genomic sequencing will help identify conditions early on and help treat them via tailored and targeted medicines.”

    Patient Story
    Sara Byrne, Accountant and IBD Patient

    “Since I was diagnosed with IBD at fifteen years old, I’ve had three major surgeries to try and bring my condition under control. As someone living with IBD, the hope is that a cure will be found sometime in the future and the more we increase our understanding of IBD through research such as that being conducted by GMI, the better chance we have of finding that cure or at least improving the treatments available.”

    Patient Story
    Andrea O’Mahony, Homemaker and MS Patient

    “Multiple Sclerosis is such a complex disease – the symptoms can vary significantly from person to person, and the result is that the tests and treatments can be somewhat trial-and-error. So I’m really excited by the potential of the research by GMI to identify the genetic markers of MS, which could lead to early detection and more accurate targeted treatments.”

    Patient Story
    Rory Mooney, Co-Founder & CEO of of Class Medical and an Ankylosing Spondylitis Patient

    “Though I was born with Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), the condition was not correctly identified until I was in my thirties, by which time inflammation had caused significant tissue damage. The incredible potential of GMI’s genomic research is that it could possibly discover the condition from very early on, meaning its early treatment and management. I can’t express enough how extremely beneficial this would be to people with AS or related conditions, which are often difficult to diagnose. GMI’s research really is the future of medicine.”

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    Ethics

    GMI is committed to maintaining the highest ethical standards.

    Every study must receive ethical approval from local Research Ethics Committees before any study commences.

    All of our studies are designed with the specific needs of participants and the local care delivery context in mind. All study documentation undergoes internal and external expert review before submission to any ethics committee.

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    Your Privacy

    GMI takes responsibility for all personal information that is entrusted to us.

    GMI is registered with the Data Protection Commissioner and has a designated Data Protection Officer. The company’s activities will also be independently audited.

    All our employees are accountable for personal data privacy and everyone on staff goes through privacy training when they start a position with GMI.

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    The Process

    Participation in any GMI study is entirely voluntary. Before you decide whether or not to volunteer for a GMI research study, a member of the research team will explain the study to you, answer any questions you may have and check that you understand what’s involved in participation.

    Participant Information Leaflets are designed to ensure full transparency to participants about topics of concern.

    Using an encrypted numbering system, the link to sensitive personal data of participants is separated. This process, known as pseudonymisation, protects participants from re-identification using data in GMI's database. Please refer to our FAQs for further information.