Image of Whitehead Human Genome Project Whitehead Human Genome Project
Whitehead Institute Human Genome Project, Eric Lander, 1986–2004

Sequencing the 3 billion DNA letters in the human genome was a scientific and technological accomplishment as ambitious as the Moon landing—and the achievement immediately brought profound and practical results in biological and medical research. When the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium published the public version of the genome in 2003, it was the culmination of an extraordinary 13-year race in which scientific advances and engineering developments ran hand-in-hand. Under the leadership of mathematician-turned-biologist Eric Lander, the Whitehead/MIT Center for Genome Research at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research (an MIT affiliate) was the largest contributor of data.

When you hear the phrase “mapping the human genome,” that describes work by Thomas Hudson who first came to the Whitehead in 1991 and joined Lander’s project soon thereafter. Among his key contributions was the first physical map of the genome. Two mementos on display celebrate that achievement: a laminated commemorative print of the Chromosome 14 map and a framed issue of Science in which the map was first announced.

Map and Science magazine collage on loan from Dr. Thomas J. Hudson, President and Scientific Director, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research; Capillary Array on loan from Eli and Edythe L. Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT.

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