The geneticist who heads the national genomics in Chile Plan unknown

The geneticist who heads the national genomics in Chile Plan unknown

Florence Tevy, PhD in genomics and exhibiting of the eighth version of the Congress of the future (and also member of the society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Chile)realized that his curiosity for the study of genomes split at age 15, when he read a book of six great scientists, which included Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel. He was impressed by both scientists not known to be and that there were no women in that book. "I decided to put an end to this story that you write books of great scientists with only names of men."

Today is his GEDIS Biotech company CEO (Genomic Engeering, Design and Innovative Solutions in Biotech), and one of the driving forces behind the initiativeNational plan for Genomics in Chile.

Genomics, says Tevy, is the study of the complete genetic make-up of a person and how those genes interact with the environment.Unlike genetics, only studying one gene at a time.

The genome can be modified according to your environment. "It is like a"switchboard,genes turn on and turn off according to its context. The same genes will work differently in different places because they converse with the environment. Genes are going to be the same, but those who are on and off can change."

"In the case of nutrition, for example, if I gain and I have obesity, genes that turn on are different that if I am skinny.There are genes that are going to be alert that there is a different conditionthat the body has to deal with", he adds.

What is the National Plan for Genomics?

It is an initiative that allows using Genomics as a tool for sustainable development and to empower the Chilean population of their genetic heritage. With the decrease of the prices on Genomics, with my colleagues, Miguel Allende and Martín Montecinos set out to assemble the National Plan for genomics. We have strong support from the Commission future of the Senate, where we presented this initiative December 17 and they are helping us to generate legal ethical floor so that this initiative can develop.

The Plan has three main pillars, preventive medicine; Agriculture and biodiversity.

Genomics would allow us to sequence and analyze different local populations of Chile, according to its history and its geography. That will allow us to know the behavior according to the environment, and generate local public policies in preventive medicine. For example, analyze the predisposition against some types of cancer.

If we look at it from the point of view of biodiversity, genomics will help you learn more about our diversity and we will reveal how to address climate change, for example.

Another pillar of genomics has to do with agriculture and use this tool to generate crops that are adapted to the new climatic conditions, which produce the same thing now. That would be genetically modifying crops that most interest us.

Who's going to protect the genetic information of the people?

Technologies to protect data before did not exist and now Yes. I was talking to engineers and they have already designed methods to protect the data in "safes". Then one could generate genetic data and cross them with clinical folders. But for that, you have to generate a flat ethical and legislative, to protect data. Those data belong to an entity regulatory that could analyze them later transforms them into a local public policy.

At what stage is the initiative?

Once the budget of this plan, which is $ 5 million per year, guaranteed us in two years could be generating early results. At this time the President is the only one who could allocate resources, but I believe that if it is informed about this, you will understand that it is an investment. I think that if we can have an audience with him and present him with this initiative, we can convince him to assemble a plan that empowers the Chilean population of their genetic heritage.