Methods and Technology
videos My career in genomics: conservation genetics In this film Edel Sheerin describes her role as an advanced research assistant working in the field of conservation genetics. This is one of a series of films providing a unique insight into different careers in the field of genomics.
videos My career in genomics: data science In this film Georgia Whitton talks about her job as a senior data scientist working in the genomic surveillance unit. This is one of a series of films providing a unique insight into different careers in the field of genomics.
videos My career in genomics: cellular operations In this film Jade Smith talks about her role as an advanced research assistant working in cellular operations. This is one of a series of films providing a unique insight into different careers in the field of genomics.
videos My career in genomics: cell biology In this film Lucy Holland describes her role as a higher laboratory scientist apprentice working in a cell biology laboratory and studying remotely. This is one of a series of films providing a unique insight into different careers in the field of genomics.
videos My career in genomics: bioinformatics In this film Tobi Alegbe discusses his PhD in bioinformatics, studying Crohn’s disease. This is one of a series of films providing a unique insight into different careers in the field of genomics.
facts What is RNA splicing? Splicing occurs during protein synthesis, and involves cutting out and rearranging sections of mRNA.
facts What is RNA sequencing? RNA sequencing is a technique used to identify the sequence of the bases that make up a molecule of RNA.
facts What is bioinformatics and how do we use it? Bioinformatics is the science of both storing lots of complex biological data, and of analysing it to find new insights, which we use in many different ways.
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.
facts What is Oxford Nanopore Technology (ONT) sequencing? Oxford Nanopore Technology developed third generation sequencers that are portable, able to sequence DNA in remote locations and produce ultra-long reads.
facts Sequencing technologies: past, present and future The sequencing field is fast changing, with new technologies allowing dramatic drop in the cost of sequencing while improving data quality and accessibility.
facts How do we use CRISPR gene editing to study diseases? CRISPR-Cas9 is a genome editing tool used to alter specific sequences of DNA in a cell. It has many uses both in research and in helping us understand disease.
activities Tech in the Lab Use a micro:bit to explore how creative coding and sensors can help scientists solve tricky problems in the lab!
videos Sequencing at Speed This 3D animation gives a simple overview of next generation DNA sequencing, known as massively parallel sequencing.
activities Code Crackers Discover how DNA sequences code for proteins, giving animals different adaptations for survival.
activities Extracting DNA from Fruit All living things have DNA. This hands-on activity will enable you to extract DNA from fruit, such as strawberries, using everyday household items.
videos Life in the Lab: working in a malaria genome modification pipeline This film shows how computer software is used to create DNA sequences that can modify the DNA of malaria parasites.
videos Life in the Lab: working in a DNA sequencing pipeline This film shows all of the processes involved in sequencing a DNA sample; from receiving a sample DNA to releasing the assembled DNA sequence data.
videos Life in the Lab: working in a malaria lab This film shows how scientists work with malaria parasites in the lab; culturing parasites and preparing them so they can be seen using a microscope.
videos Life in the Lab: working with human gut microbiota This film shows how lab scientists work safely with human gut bacteria; culturing them on agar plates and extracting DNA for genome sequencing.
facts What is genome editing? Genome editing is a way of making specific changes to the DNA of a cell or organism. An enzyme cuts the DNA at a specific sequence, and when this is repaired by the cell a change or ‘edit’ is made to the sequence.
videos DNA sequencing This 3D animation shows the basic steps in the method of DNA sequencing that was used during the Human Genome Project.
activities Function Finders: BLAST! Decode DNA sequences and discover the proteins they code for using online scientific databases.
facts What is CRISPR-Cas9? CRISPR-Cas9 is a genome editing tool that is creating a buzz in the science world. It is faster, cheaper and more accurate than previous techniques of editing DNA and has a wide range of potential applications.
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.
facts What is a DNA fingerprint? DNA fingerprinting is a method used to identify an individual from a sample of DNA by looking at unique patterns in their DNA.
facts How do you map a genome? Genome mapping is used to identify and record the location of genes and the distances between genes on a chromosome. Genome mapping provided a critical starting point for the Human Genome Project.
facts What is gel electrophoresis? Electrophoresis is a technique commonly used in the lab to separate charged molecules, like DNA, according to size.
facts What is PCR (polymerase chain reaction)? PCR is a technique used in the lab to make millions of copies of a particular section of DNA. It was first developed in the 1980s.
interactives You vs. Machine Are you faster than a machine? Compete against the computer to sequence DNA from a capillary sequencing machine.
facts What happens to DNA sequence when it comes off a sequencing machine? DNA sequencing produces huge amounts of data essentially comprising of lots of short sections of DNA letters. The first step is to check that the sequence is of the highest quality before we start to piece the sections together.
facts How are sequenced genomes stored and shared? After a genome has been sequenced, assembled and annotated it needs to be shared in a format that is easily and freely accessible to all. This can be done via a database called a genome browser.
facts How do you find out the significance of a genome after sequencing? We’ve sequenced the genome, put it back together and identified the genes, but now we need to find out what this genome can tell us and how it compares to other genomes.
facts How do you identify the genes in a genome? After the sections of DNA sequence have been assembled into a complete genome sequence we need to identify where the genes and key features are, but how do we do this?
facts How do you put a genome back together after sequencing? After DNA sequencing is complete, the fragments of DNA that come out of the machine are all jumbled up. Like a jigsaw puzzle we need to take the pieces of the genome and put them back together.
videos The Human Genome Project: Personal Stories This film features personal accounts from scientists from the USA and UK who were involved in the Human Genome Project.
facts Timeline: History of genomics A timeline depicting the key events in the history of genomics and genetic research alongside those in popular culture. From the discovery of DNA, and the election of Roosevelt, right through to whole genome sequencing and Andy Murray winning Wimbledon for the first time.
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 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 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.
facts What is shotgun sequencing? Shotgun sequencing involves randomly breaking up DNA sequences into lots of small pieces and then reassembling the sequence by looking for regions of overlap.
facts What is clone-by-clone sequencing? During clone-by-clone sequencing, a map of each chromosome of the genome is made before the DNA is split up into fragments ready for sequencing.
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 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 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…
facts What is capillary sequencing? By the mid-1990s, when the Human Genome Project was in full swing, scientists were sequencing DNA using capillary sequencers.
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.
facts What is genetic engineering? Genetic engineering refers to the direct manipulation of DNA to alter an organism’s characteristics (phenotype) in a particular way.
facts Timeline: The Human Genome Project The Human Genome Project, which began officially in 1990, was the largest international collaboration ever undertaken in biology and involved thousands of scientists.
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.
facts How are drugs designed and developed? Producing a new drug is an expensive and time-consuming process that is subject to extensive regulation.
facts What is the Illumina method of DNA sequencing? Illumina sequencing has been used to sequence many genomes and has enabled the comparison of DNA sequences to improve understanding of health and disease.
facts What is the 454 method of DNA sequencing? In 2005, 454 Life Sciences launched the first next-generation DNA sequencer – a big leap forward in DNA sequencing technology.
facts Types of genome sequencing Genome sequencing can mean sequencing an organism's entire genome or just focusing on sequencing very specific areas of DNA.
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.
facts What are BAC libraries? During the Human Genome Project, researchers had to find a way to reduce the entire human genome into chunks, as it was too large to be sequenced in one go. To do this they created a store of DNA fragments called a BAC library.
facts What is a clinical trial? A clinical trial is a research investigation when a new treatment is first given to humans, with or without a disease, to establish if the drug is safe and effective at treating the disease.
debates Should all scientific research be made open access? Open access refers to peer-reviewed scholarly research that is available, unrestricted, to anyone with an internet connection.
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.
videos How the human genome was sequenced This animation introduces you to the human genome and shows how the first human genome was sequenced in the Human Genome Project.
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