Further reading

Lung health varies between people. Someone with persistent difficulty exhaling might have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a condition which leaves them, quite literally, breathless.

A person's chances of developing COPD as they grow older is affected by whether they smoke cigarettes, but genetic variation also plays a role. Understanding the genetic variation that predicts lung disease gives scientists clues about the causes of lung disease and about how to treat it.

How it works

The DNA in our cells is made up of three billion pairs of just four types of chemical bases: known as A, C, G and T. Genetic variation means that, where one person might have an A at a certain place in the sequence, another person might have a G.

To identify the genetic variations that affect lung health the scientists behind this exhibit compared millions of differences in the DNA of almost 50,000 people and checked how healthy their lungs were.

At this exhibit, visitors can see how lung health is measured and learn about genetic variation between people. You can also try to detect the genetic variations which predict lung health. Everybody knows that cigarette smoking is bad for us, but are some smokers at even higher risk than others?

Virtual exhibit

Explore the virtual exhibit for more videos, activities and explanations about lung health.