San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature ConnectionSDNHM Exhibits

This exhibition closed May 1, 2006.

Oversized DNA twist model in Genome exhibitionGENOME: The Secret of How Life Works explores the human genome—a person’s entire set of genes. Think of your genes like a recipe and your genome like a recipe book that tells you who you are and what you might become. The exhibition reveals the mysteries of genes, narrates the last two centuries of discovery, and unravels the implications of gene therapy for the future of medical science and healthcare.

The Secret of How Life Works, Photo courtesy of GENOME: The Secret of How Life Works Exhibition
GENOME uses interactive displays, visually rich environments and family-friendly activities that are specifically designed to help the public understand the genome’s function and its role in daily life. Interactives include:
  • Giant Double Helix An eight-foot-tall, 25-foot-long display of DNA’s double helix structure.
  • Discovery Theater An opportunity to meet the minds that were instrumental in the discoveries leading up to the sequencing of the human genome.
  • Hereditary Slot Machines A working slot machine that demonstrates the odds that children will inherit genes for certain characteristics.
  • The Cookie Factory A visualization of protein production in terms that children and adults alike can grasp, with DNA, genes and proteins as the ingredients and recipes for “making” human beings.

Cell Explorer 1, Photo courtesy of GENOME: The Secret of How Life Works Exhibition The exhibition will answer common questions and correct frequently held misconceptions that surround the human genome, tackling topics such as genetic predetermination, the nature of mutations and the very slight differences in genetic material that separate one human being from another.

Genome is an especially important exhibition to have at the San Diego Natural History Museum,” says the Museum’s Curator of Herpetology, Dr. Bradford Hollingsworth, who is also acting as curator of the exhibition for the Museum. “In our active research programs, we sequence and analyze DNA ourselves, and we also collaborate with other researchers to provide tissue samples for analysis from our diverse collections. This research is instrumental for the conservation of species. Genome is also appropriate for San Diego because our region is one of the world's biodiversity hotspots.” For more information, visit the Museum and Genetics section of our exhibit website.

The GENOME exhibition was made possible by Pfizer, Inc. and was produced by Clear Channel Exhibitions in collaboration with the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Whitehead Institute/MIT Center for Genome Research.

Local corporate support for GENOME includes Invitrogen Corporation, Gen-Probe, Nanogen Inc., Pfizer La Jolla Laboratories, the Society of Toxicology, TERRA Restaurant & Catering, and BIOCOM. For more information about the exhibition, visit