Sanger Campus

Until recently, genome sequencing was almost entirely based on a method developed by Fred Sanger in the 1970s. This area of the site tours you through the techniques that have been used by the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute to map, decode and assemble the DNA sequences of organisms from worms to humans.

Why sequence genomes?

Sequencing centres like the Sanger Institute are trying to improve understanding of humans and other organisms through exploring genomes.

Genes play a significant part in our predisposition to common diseases such as diabetes, obesity and cancer. Researchers and clinicians around the world are using the human genome sequence to study key genes involved in common diseases, which will be new targets for diagnosis and treatments.

Genome sequencing can also help to understand organisms that cause infectious disease. The Sanger Institute has sequenced the genomes of organisms that cause diseases including malaria, tuberculosis (TB) and the superbugs MRSA and Cdiff. That information is already being used to transform the search for new tests and drug targets.

Sequence data is now an established part of the fabric of biology. Onsite projects are being used to understand the mechanisms of learning and memory, the basics of development, and how our genome has evolved.

What do we sequence?

As the largest sequencing centre in Europe, the Sanger Institute makes a massive contribution to the worldwide collection of genomic information. Online genome databases now show the data from different animals, including humans, fish, frogs and worms. Other animal genomes can help us understand our own biology. The Institute has also had a major role in decoding more than 90 disease-causing organisms.

Where to go from here?