The shift from a psychosomatic to genetic susceptibility paradigm in the etiology of chronic inflammatory bowel diseases raises new questions about the perception of the disease and the ethics of fair informed consent procedures to whole genome studies. Qualitative social research methodology, oral history approaches, hermeneutics and ethical analysis shall be used to investigate patients’, families’, doctors’ and scientists’ views on the significance of risk loci for Chron’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) in a changing scientific, clinical and social reality . An integrated account of the ‘lived genome’ can only emerge from a multiperspective approach that considers the practical significance of genetic research and the possibilities for presymptomatic genetic testing in patients’ lives, their uptake of genomic information and their interpretation of genetic susceptibility.