Science centre hosts show that promotes ethical debate

A “genetically-modified” exhibit, launched at the Telus World of Science yesterday, gives visitors a chance to learn about high-tech advance and helps them take a stand on an ethical debate.

“This exhibit shows the pros and cons of genetic technology, this isn’t propaganda,” said Dr. Martin Godbout, the presenter for the travelling GEEE! In Genome exhibit.

“We let the people decide, the students decide, and the parents decide what they think about genetic technology.


This is the second phase of the nationally renowned exhibit that also gives its visitors a look into the functions of genes and cells, along with the science behind genomics.

“The big question everyone asking is would you like to have health insurance companies know your genetic code,” said Godbout. “There are pros and cons of this, and we debate this here in public.”

After its first phase was launched in Ottawa back in 2003, Godbout said advancements in genetic technology made it tough for exhibit organizers to keep it current: a new phase was needed.

“This science is gong so fast, that after three years, the first exhibit was obsolete,” said Godbout, president of GenomeCanada.

Edmonton’s science centre stepped in for the save after an Ontario museum bowed out.

“This is a little bit last minute, but looking around, you can’t really tell,” said Harold Robinson, trustee with the exhibit’s producer, the Canadian Museum of Nature.

Once inside the 2,500 square foot exhibit, visitors use the hands-on displays to learn more about DNA, cells and new genetic advances like stem cell research and genetically modified foods.

Kids can play a video game where they race against a cell to build a protein and adults can read personal accounts of people who suffer from genetic diseases.

Six-month reign

  • The science centre will host the exhibit for six weeks before it continues its three-year tour across Canada.