Nieuws - 29 november 2012

'Genomes are becoming run-of-the-mill'

Who? Martien Groenen, professor holding a personal chair in Animal Breeding & Genetics.
What? Explained to the media in detail what we have in common with pigs.
Why? Groenen was one of the authors of the article in Nature about the pig genome.

Which media were interested?
'I was on the RTL news on TV and on 'This is the day' on Radio 1 and a science programme on Radio 5. There was also a lot of interest from the specialist journals and regional newspapers but not much from the national papers, strangely.'
Do you know why?
'The science editor at De Volkskrant newspaper told me publishing genomes has become run-of-the-mill now that so many are known. But with hindsight he was a little sorry that he hadn't done anything with the news.'
What was the main thing you were able to highlight?
'Most of the journalists were interested primarily in the pig as a model animal for research into human diseases. That is what matters to people. I did point out that pigs are an expensive model compared with rats and mice and that we only use them for certain diseases, because I don't want to raise any false expectations. But it is true, though, that we can target our research much more effectively now we have mapped the genome.'