The American Museum of Natural History in New York, in creating what it claims is the first comprehensive museum exhibit on genomics, faced unique challenges. "The Genomic Revolution," which began May 26 and runs through January 1, 2002, explores the promise and the potential ethical perils of genomics advances. The exhibit, geared to ages 9 and up, according to exhibit curator Rob DeSalle, couldn't rely on an awe-inspiring specimen like the museum's famous blue whale to capture young imaginations. Instead, it attempts to charm all ages with interactive, double-helix-adorned audio-visual displays. DeSalle says he and his colleagues tried to "layer" each display to pique everyone's interests. Much of the display deals with the bioethical implications of genetically modified foods, gene therapy, cloning, and access to personal genetics profiles. Questionnaires on computer terminals ask visitors controversial questions; one, for example, asks their opinions about gene therapy, presuming it were relatively...
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