Stories

Here you can take a more detailed look at genomics. These articles cover the stories of genomics including the history, people, and applications.

Stories

stories Unsung heroes in science: Margaret Hamilton Margaret Hamilton was a computer scientist who spearheaded software engineering whilst working at NASA during the Apollo missions.
stories Giants in genomics: Jennifer Doudna Jennifer Anne Doudna is a biochemist who won the Nobel Prize for her work in developing CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology.
stories Unsung heroes in science: Henrietta Lacks While not a scientist, the first successful line of human cells grown in a lab came from a cancer sample from Henrietta, and have become instrumental in biological research.
stories Unsung heroes in science: Barbara McClintock Barbara McClintock was a pioneering geneticist who discovered that genes can ‘jump’. This discovery led to her receiving the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1983.
stories Unsung heroes of science: Marie Maynard Daly Marie Maynard Daly, the first Black woman in the US to receive a PhD in chemistry, worked on nucleic acids, cholesterol links to heart disease and protein synthesis.
stories Genomic surveillance in action Genomic surveillance is not new, but developments in the availability, speed and cost of technology mean it has become an essential tool in tackling epidemics.
stories Inbreeding: from champion horses to life-saving mice Humans have been breeding animals for millenia to bring out desirable characteristics. With the thoroughbred race horse there's lots of money at stake but with research mice it's the possibility of life-saving new treatments.
stories Tracking ‘superbugs’ Infectious diseases can spread quickly in a hospital environment, particularly if the pathogen that causes the disease is resistant to the drugs relied on to fight it. Genomics may be able to help track these resistant pathogens and nip them in the bud before they become widespread…
stories Science in the time of cholera Although cholera is commonly thought to be a disease of the Victorian era, it is still a significant problem in many areas of the modern world. Genomics research is helping to bring us closer to understanding how we may eliminate it once and for all.
stories The ‘eureka’ moment that revolutionised crime solving In 1984, Alec Jeffreys developed the technique of DNA fingerprinting in his laboratory at the University of Leicester. These techniques have revolutionised the way that the police solve crimes.
stories Defeating the little dragon The Guinea worm is a water-transmitted parasite that develops over a year in its host before painfully emerging from the skin. It is hoped that it will soon become the first parasite to be eradicated but there are a few challenges to overcome first…
stories How is genomics being used to tackle neglected tropical diseases? Neglected tropical diseases affect the poorest of the world’s populations but relatively little is known about their biology. Genomics is now providing insight into these diseases and enabling scientists to develop new strategies to prevent and treat these debilitating diseases.
stories The ongoing battle against drug resistant malaria Resistance to antimalarial drugs is one of the biggest problems currently facing malaria control. Recent studies looking at the genome of the malaria parasite could help scientists understand how drug resistance has evolved – and develop the tools needed to keep it in check.
stories A weapon against malaria Malaria parasites have a complex life cycle and high variability which has made the development of a vaccine a real challenge. Currently the most advanced vaccine candidate is RTS,S.
stories Malaria: the master of disguise Sequencing the genome of the malaria parasite has revealed interesting clues as to how it is able to evade the human immune system for long enough to cause disease.
stories Genome-wide association studies Genome-wide association studies have led to the discovery of hundreds of genes with a role in common diseases.
stories Direct-to-consumer testing Have you ever wanted to know more about your genetic make-up? Direct-to-consumer testing is now making this possible through tests you can order online. But is there a more serious side to us having such easy access to all of the information in our genomes?
stories Giants in genomics: Robert Waterston Robert H. Waterston is an American biologist well known for his work on sequencing the genome of the nematode worm C. elegans alongside John Sulston. He is also recognised for his part in sequencing the human, mouse and chimpanzee genomes.
stories Unravelling the double helix The discovery of the structure of DNA by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953 is one of the most famous scientific discoveries of all time.
stories Revealing DNA as the molecule of life How was DNA discovered to be the carrier of genetic information? Read on to find out...
stories The discovery of DNA How was DNA first discovered and who discovered it? Read on to find out...
stories Giants in genomics: Allan Bradley Allan Bradley was director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute from 2000 to 2010. His appointment as director coincided with the completion of the draft human genome sequence by the Human Genome Project.
stories Using yeast in biology Yeast is one of the simplest eukaryotic organisms but many essential cellular processes are the same in yeast and humans. It is therefore an important organism to study to understand basic molecular processes in humans.
stories Giants in genomics: Rosalind Franklin Rosalind Elsie Franklin was a British biophysicist and X-ray crystallographer whose fundamental research was critical to Watson and Crick’s discovery of the structure of DNA.
stories Giants in genomics: Maurice Wilkins Maurice Wilkins shared the Nobel Prize with Francis Crick and James Watson in 1962 for their joint discovery of the structure of DNA. Naturally reticent, Wilkins didn’t initially stand forward to give his own account of the DNA story so few knew of his direct involvement in the project.
stories Giants in genomics: James Watson James Watson and his British colleague Francis Crick discovered the double helix structure of DNA. For this fundamental finding James, Francis and Maurice Wilkins were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1962.
stories Giants in genomics: Fred Sanger The Sanger Institute takes its name from the double Nobel Prize winner and ‘father of genomics’, Frederick Sanger.
stories Giants in genomics: Francis Crick Francis Crick and his American colleague, James Watson, discovered the double helix structure of DNA. For this fundamental finding Francis, James and Maurice Wilkins were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1962.
stories Giants in genomics: Francis Collins Dr Francis Collins led the Human Genome Project from 1993. In his work, he was responsible for discovering the genes mutated in cystic fibrosis and Huntington’s disease. He is currently director of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).
stories Giants in genomics: John Sulston Professor Sir John Sulston was the founding director of the Sanger Centre (now the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute) from 1992 until 2000 when the ‘working draft’ of the human genome sequence was completed.
stories Giants in genomics: Janet Thornton Professor Dame Janet Thornton was director of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), which shares the Wellcome Genome Campus with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, from 2001 to 2015.
stories How is pharmacogenomics being used? In a small number of cases, doctors are able to use pharmacogenomics in their treatment of patients.
stories Of mice and men The mouse is closely related to humans with a striking similarity to us in terms of anatomy, physiology and genetics. This makes the mouse an extremely useful model organism.
stories The African clawed frog While many species of amphibians have been studied by scientists, the one that stands out in genetics is the African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis.
stories Pharmacogenomics and cancer Pharmacogenomics is a specific kind of genetic testing that offers key advantages for doctors trying to choose the best drugs for their patients.
stories Personal genomics: the future of healthcare? Personal genomics is an area of genomics focusing specifically on the sequencing and analysis of one person’s genome, and then giving them their genomic information.
stories Are humans still evolving? For much of nature, natural selection and ‘survival of the fittest’ still play a dominant role; only the strongest can survive in the wild. As little as a few hundred years ago, the same was true for humans, but what about now?
stories Evolution of modern humans The origin of modern humans has probably been the most debated issue in evolutionary biology over the last few decades.
stories Evolution of the human brain The human brain, in all its staggering complexity, is the product of millions of years of evolution.
stories Giants in genomics: Eric Lander Eric Lander is the founding director of the Broad Institute of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard. He was one of the leaders of the Human Genome Project and his work has been key in developing tools to investigate disease.
stories Giants in genomics: Mike Stratton Professor Sir Mike Stratton is the director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and co-leader of the Cancer Genome Project.
stories Adverse drug reactions An adverse drug reaction is when a medication given as instructed and at a normal dose has an unwanted or harmful effect on a patient.
stories How is the completed human genome sequence being used? It has been over a decade since the Human Genome Project was finished, so what has been happening since and how is the completed human genome sequence being used?
stories When was the Human Genome Project completed? In 2003, two years ahead of schedule, scientists announced that the human genome had been sequenced with an accuracy of 99.99 per cent. It was described as ‘the end of the beginning’.
stories What was the ‘draft sequence’ of the Human Genome Project? The announcement of the first draft of the human genome on 26 June 2000 was big news.
stories Why was there a race to sequence the human genome? The entry of Celera Genomics into the human genome sequencing arena in 1998 galvanised the public effort, leading to a race to sequence the human genome.
stories How did the Human Genome Project make science more accessible? The Human Genome Project was a pioneer for encouraging open access to scientific research. In 1996, those involved agreed that all new information produced should be made freely available to all within 24 hours.
stories How did patenting cause conflicts within the Human Genome Project? Some scientists involved in the Human Genome Project upset the collaborative nature by trying to patent sections of the DNA sequence for their own financial gain.
stories The pilot project for the Human Genome Project: C. elegans John Sulston and Bob Waterston led the way for the Human Genome Project after they successfully sequenced the genome of the nematode worm, Caenorhabditis elegans, the first animal to be sequenced.
stories Who was involved in the Human Genome Project? The Human Genome Project brought scientists together from across the globe. Worldwide collaboration and support was an essential part of the project’s success.
stories How did the Human Genome Project come about? It was a project of such a huge size that no one thought it would be possible at that time, but with the support of key scientists and considerable funding, the Human Genome Project began…
stories Genetic counselling Genetic counsellors are health professionals who help people faced with the possibility of a genetic disease to make informed decisions about their futures.
stories Pacbio and third generation sequencing With third generation sequencing, sequencing a genome has become a cheaper, faster and more sophisticated process.
stories Next-generation sequencing Next-generation sequencing brought with it a fundamentally different approach to DNA sequencing, cutting the time and cost needed to sequence a genome.
stories Safer, improved sequencing in the 1980s Automatic DNA sequencing machines became commercially available in the late 1980s. They allowed scientists to carry out DNA sequencing more safely and efficiently.
stories The dawn of DNA sequencing The Sanger sequencing method, developed in 1977, enabled scientists to read the genetic code for the first time. It is based on the natural process of DNA replication.
stories What is DNA sequencing? DNA sequencing is the process of working out the order of the bases, A, C, G and T, in a strand of DNA.
stories Sequencing the worm The 1950s and early 1960s saw a dazzling explosion in molecular biology. The structure of DNA had been uncovered and the mysteries of biology seemed eminently solvable. What would be the next big thing?
stories What was the Human Genome Project for? The Human Genome Project, which began officially in 1990, was the largest international collaboration ever undertaken in biology and involved thousands of scientists. 
stories Treating the bubble babies: gene therapy in use Some children with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), a genetic disorder characterised by a reduced number of immune cells, have been treated using gene therapy.
stories Scaling up for the Human Genome Project By the mid-1990s, when the Human Genome Project was in full swing, scientists were sequencing DNA using capillary sequencers.
stories Fruit flies in the laboratory The fruit fly, also known as Drosophila melanogaster, has the longest history in genetics and research out of all the model organisms.
stories Tiny fish, big splash: the story of the zebrafish The zebrafish (Danio rerio) has become a popular model organism only relatively recently. It is a tropical fish from the minnow family with a genetic structure surprisingly similar to ours.

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