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The Genetic Revolution - Explore the future

Media Release

Tuesday 23 August 2005

The Genetic Revolution - Explore the future at Te Papa

Designer babies … gene therapy … GE food. We’re in the middle of a scientific revolution! Te Papa and sponsor Merck Sharp & Dohme present The Genetic Revolution, an exhibition that examines the extraordinary developments taking place in this key field of molecular biology and explores their impact on modern science and technology, natural history, biodiversity, and our everyday lives.

The Genetic Revolution presents genetic research both from a scientific and technological viewpoint, and offers a strong social and ethical perspective on the issues arising from the science. Developed by the American Museum of Natural History (New York), the exhibition also includes information and storylines from the New Zealand experience. These include where New Zealand positions itself within the global debate, some of the scientific work being carried out here, and some of the indigenous (traditional and contemporary) cultural values that influence and impact on our bicultural national perspective.

The exhibition provides an immersive and interactive experience, including hands-on models, videos, films, opinion-polling stations, and artworks. A Learning Lab within the exhibition will enable visitors to undertake a real DNA extraction process. The Genetic Revolution is supported by an exciting and informative events programme, including lectures, expert talks and panel discussions.

‘Te Papa’s partnership with Merck Sharp & Dohme New Zealand provides an opportunity to deliver an exhibition that is relevant and thought-provoking,’ said Dr Seddon Bennington, Te Papa’s Chief Executive. ‘In one way or another, the advances and challenges in science affect us all. The Genetic Revolution informs and engages the visitor, and invites consideration of issues from personal, national and international perspectives, providing a forum for discussion and debate.’

Mr Alister Brown, Managing Director, Merck Sharp & Dohme New Zealand said, ‘Sponsoring this impressive exhibition is the centrepiece of our company’s science promotion programme for 2005. We hope it will lead to increased public awareness and dialogue around science and innovation issues.

‘Advances in genetic research will undoubtedly deliver many benefits, including disease cures and quality of life improvements for patients and their families. This exhibition does a great job of explaining the science, summarising all the issues and viewpoints, and stressing the critical need for ethical decision-making and public engagement.’

Mr Te Taru White, Te Papa’s Kaihautü (Mäori leader) said, ‘The Genetic Revolution allows us as individuals and as a nation to explore and understand the impact of genetics on our society and culture, and our history, present and future.

‘DNA research has also contributed to the knowledge and understanding of our collections at Te Papa, from identification of new plants and fish species, to determining the origin of selected taonga.’

The Genetic Revolution

Saturday 3 September 2005 to Sunday 22 January 2006
Tower Gallery, Level 4. Admission charges apply.


The Genetic Revolution Events Programme

The Genetic Revolution
Saturday 3 September 2005 to Sunday 22 January 2006
Tower Gallery, Level 4. Admission charges apply.

Opening Weekend
The Genetic Revolution – Floortalks within the exhibition
Saturday 3 September
Join Curator Leon Perrie, as he discusses how DNA research has improved our understanding of New Zealand’s plants and animals. Exhibition admission charges apply.
The Genetic Revolution – Careers in Science
Sunday 4 September
Be inspired. Come and meet young scientists who are excelling in their field of research, including winners of the MacDiarmid Young Scientist of the Year Awards.

Lunchtime Lecture Series
Monday 3 – Friday 7 October, 12.15 – 1pm
Daily discussions on controversial topics, including evolution and genomics, genetically modified food, and gene therapy.

Te Papa Spring Lecture Series
Thursday 6 October, 6.30 – 7.30pm
‘Designer Babies and Saviour Siblings’
A discussion of the issues and the controversy surrounding pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (the sixth lecture in our annual series).

The Incredibly Genetic Film Festival
Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 October
Experience some fascinating and at times disturbing documentary films.

Genetic Revolution – the Promise and Peril
Thursday 24, Saturday 26, Sunday 27 November and Thursday 1, Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 December
A series of lectures and panel discussions focusing on the ethics, impacts, and sustainability of biotechnology and gene therapy, and the way that we as a society talk about it.

Kids’ activities
Check out our exciting range of children’s activities relating to The Genetic Revolution during the September and summer holidays.

All events are free entry, except within the exhibition, where exhibition admission charges apply. All topics, times, and venues to be confirmed. Please check our monthly calendar or our website for further details.

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