About genetics and genomics

Advances in medical science help to improve health care in Australia. Gene technology and genomics can give us new testing, diagnosis and treatments for diseases such as cancer and help produce new vaccines and drugs.

Genetics is the study of how genes work and transmit information from parents to offspring. It can help us understand the risk of inheriting a genetic disease.

Genomics is the study and mapping of genomes – the full set of genetic instructions for an organism. It includes both human and other genomes and how these interact with the environment.

Genomics can help doctors:

  • identify and diagnose genetic disorders and rare diseases
  • develop prevention strategies
  • tailor a patient’s treatment.

Researchers used genomics techniques to sequence the SARS-CoV-2 virus genome and this meant COVID-19 vaccines could quickly be developed.

Gene technology involves changing an organism’s genes so that it gains, loses, or changes certain traits. It can be used to:

  • produce new vaccines or medicines
  • develop new ways to diagnose and treat disease.

What we're doing about genetics and genomics

Strategies and frameworks

We develop our policy frameworks through extensive consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, including:

Scientists in genetics laboratory

A consistent national approach to genomics policy

Integrating genomics into Australia’s health system to improve health outcomes both for individuals and the larger population will involve reshaping clinical practice.

This policy framework provides a consistent national approach designed to coordinate activities and address policy issues and challenges. It is built around 5 key priorities.

Female scientist in laboratory

Strategic priorities for microbial genomics

Microbial genomics is a tool that gives us information about the genomic sequence of pathogens. We can use this information to better manage outbreaks and threats from communicable diseases.

The national framework outlines 5 strategic priorities and we developed a plan to guide its implementation.


Genetics and genomics contact

Contact us for more information on genetics and genomics, including our strategies and frameworks, specific priorities or projects.

genomics [at] health.gov.au

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