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A Genomics Education Alliance

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posted on 11.07.2017 by Sarah C R Elgin, Gita Bangera, Vincent P. Buonaccorsi, Douglas L. Chalker, Elizabeth Dinsdale, Erin L. Dolan, Linnea Fletcher, Arthur Hunt, Carolyn J. Lawrence-Dill, Wilson Leung, Laura K. Reed, Anne G. Rosenwald, Sandesh Subramanya, Emily Wiley, Jason Williams

Genomics has emerged as a critical area of research for the life sciences, generating new social and scientific perspectives. Low-cost sequencing and advances in computing have accelerated genomics research at a pace that leaves educators at the undergraduate level struggling to keep up. We present a call to action, advocating for creation of a Genomics Education Alliance (GEA) – a global, sustainable, community-driven organization that can coalesce disparate efforts to deliver on the educational and scientific promise of genomics in the 21st century. Addressing the emerging challenges in human health, agriculture, and climate will depend on training the next generation of biology students to be data-savvy scientists. Genome annotation and analysis, as a stand-alone effort or in conjunction with wet-bench investigation, has proven to be an effective way to a) introduce large numbers of biology students to bioinformatics, and b) provide students with a course-based research experiences (CUREs). GEA can implement and maintain an up-to-date framework, including accessible tools and research problems, to support undergraduate education, promoting CURE-based approaches and addressing barriers (e.g. technological, training, pedagogical) that educators face in bringing genomics to undergraduates at scale. We invite the community of researchers and educators working in genomics and related fields to join us in shaping this alliance with the aim of achieving transformative change in life science education.

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