Guess who’s leveraging Facebook now

Genome Alberta has come up with the perfect gift for that impossible-to-buy-for nerd in your life.

To mark the 55th anniversary of the discovery of the double helix, Genome Alberta has begun offering ‘virtual genes’ as gifts on Facebook.

The Calgary-based not-for-profit research organization hopes its unusual – make that unique – initiative will allow Facebook users to literally show their friends what they’re made of, and become more scientifically educated about what makes them tick, says corp communications director Mike Spear. ‘A strong part of what we do is outreach,’ he tells MiC, ‘and we wanted to reach a lot of people for a reasonable price.’

Each Facebook gift comes with a description of the particular gene and its function, and links to more information. Given that all humans are 99% genetically identical, the virtual gene gifts allow users to look at the bits that make an individual unique.