Kavli Centre for Ethics, Science, and the Public
Only Human

Only Human

What makes us … us?  We become human – instead of bananas or grasshoppers or humpback whales – because we have human genes.  And our own genetic ‘fingerprint’ – our DNA – is what makes us uniquely us.  Unlike any other human on earth.

So genetics is personal. But it’s also gets emotional because it’s about family and our connections to each other. And sometimes it gets confusing or scary or intimidating because there is still so much we don’t know about ourselves and what our DNA can do. 

Faced with hard stuff it is only human to question, to fear, to doubt, to consider, to distrust, to hesitate. It’s how we’re built.

It’s only human to use jokey or everyday language to take the edge off things that are literally life and death.  It’s also only human to be curious.  The human genome belongs to all humanity.  We have a right to know more about it and have our questions answered.

So where do we begin?

The Only Human project is an ambitious partnership between The Kavli Centre, Wellcome Connecting Science, and experts in all sorts of human communication from film to advertising, from social media influencers to festival organisers.  Together we are building relationships with diverse public audiences – especially those who feel left out and unheard – to work out ‘what does genomics mean to me?’ 

This isn’t just a scientific question but an ethical one too: where do we stand on the things that cutting-edge genetic science can do today?  Can I (should I?) do something about the thing that runs in my family?  

Once we’ve had those conversations, we can work out how to have more of them. And better ones. Conversations that benefit everyone and leave nobody behind. 

Hopefully that will help the scientists too.

After all, it’s only human to enjoy a good chat.

Header Photo by Eddi Aguirre on Unsplash