Sir John Sulston, English pioneering researcher in genomics, 2002.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Dr Sulston is standing on the spiral staircase from the library at the Wellcome Sanger Institute. Unusually, this staircase follows a right-handed spiral, as does DNA. After a search for a suitable location, the Sanger Institute was founded in 1992 in Hinxton, near Cambridge, as a focus for the UK efforts in large scale genomics. It is named after Fred Sanger, twice Nobel prize winner, whose method for decoding DNA still lies at the heart of today's technology 25 years on. The Sanger Institute sequenced about one million bases of DNA per year. Through establishing principles worked out on model organisms, automation of sequencing technology and improvements in that technology, the Institute finished the sequence of 35 million bases of human DNA in one month alone in 2001.