26 Apr 2000

The Wellcome Trust, via its Beowulf Genomics initiative, has committed more than £3 million to help scientists learn more about some of the causes of sleeping sickness, gastrointestinal infection and toxoplasmosis.

Researchers at the Sanger Centre, near Cambridge, will carry out sequencing work on the genomes of Trypanosoma brucei, Bacteroides fragilis, Yersinia enterocolitica, and Toxoplasma gondii.

13 Apr 2000

The sequence of the entire genome of the bacillus causing leprosy has been determined in a collaborative effort between Stewart Cole's team at Institut Pasteur and the Sanger Centre in the Great Britain

Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease mostly affecting the skin, peripheral nerves, mucosa membranes of the upper respiratory tract and the eyes. The mutilations it causes result in lepers being rejected in many societies. Sequencing the genome of the leprosy bacillus (Mycobacterium leprae) was a priority both for research into the disease and for its control.

29 Mar 2000

Cambridge scientists are celebrating a monumental milestone in the international Human Genome Project to decode the genetic instructions of humankind.

The Sanger Centre team and their research colleagues from around the world have today announced that they have sequenced two billion 'letters' of human DNA. The sequence is deposited in public databases and is being used daily by researchers worldwide in the quest to understand human disease.

29 Mar 2000

Researchers in the UK and Germany have decoded all the genes of a bacterium that causes the most common form of meningitis.

Neisseria meningitidis infects half a million people each year, and is associated with major epidemics of meningitis in developing countries. The research paves the way for new methods of detecting, preventing and treating infections.

14 Mar 2000

Today the United States government and UK Government announced that all DNA sequence data from the Human Genome Project would remain free for use worldwide.

Ensuring that the data from the Human Genome Project remains in the public domain will allow the fruits of this work to be fully exploited by research groups worldwide to develop real healthcare advances.

7 Mar 2000

The publicly funded Human Genome Project (HGP) today announced that negotiations with the commercial DNA sequencing company Celera Genomics had broken down. The HGP had hoped that the combined effort of the public and private sector would bring more rapid benefits from the programme.

The talks stumbled when Celera refused to accept a statement of 'Shared Principles' prepared by the HGP participants. The HGP team made repeated attempts to discuss differences with the President of Celera, Dr J. Craig Venter, but received no response from him throughout January and February.

10 Feb 2000

Scientists have identified the genetic make-up of the bug responsible for the majority of food poisoning outbreaks. The work paves the way for treatments that may eventually prevent or cure gastro-enteritis attacks that are, at best, extremely unpleasant, and, at worst, can kill.

The first food-borne pathogen to be sequenced, C. jejuni is harboured by half of the poultry destined for human consumption. It is responsible for around 60,000 reported cases of food poisoning in the UK each year - over three times more than the infamous Salmonella. The bacterium thrives in the human gut where it can cause severe diarrhoea and, in rare cases, Guillain-Barre syndrome, a neuromuscular condition that can lead to death.

6 Jan 2000

Scientists at the Sanger Centre near Cambridge are aiming to understand the genetic make-up of micro-organisms responsible for some of the world's most common and sometimes, life-threatening, diseases.

£4,254,527 has been announced by the Wellcome Trust, through its Beowulf Genomics initiative, to sequence the genomes of Burkholderia pseudomallei, Neisseria meningitidis serogroup C, a significant proportion of Leishmania major and a project, jointly funded with Edinburgh University, to compare the sequence of Caenorhabditis elegans with those of important parasitic nematodes by expressed sequence TAG-based discovery.

1 Dec 1999

An international team of researchers has passed a scientific milestone by deciphering, for the first time, the complete genetic code of a human chromosome and revealing the existence of hundreds of genes previously unknown in humans.

Reported in this week's edition of Nature (2nd December), researchers from the Wellcome Trust-funded Sanger Centre near Cambridge, Keio University in Japan and US laboratories at the University of Oklahoma and Washington University, St. Louis have succeeded in writing down the 34 million 'letters' that make up the entire sequence that contains all the protein coding genes of Chromosome 22.

20 Oct 1999

Scientists are setting up a £10 million Cancer Genome Project, which will use the rapidly emerging data from the Human Genome Project to find the gene abnormalities associated with all forms of human cancers.

Funded by the Wellcome Trust, the world's largest medical research charity, the Cancer Genome Project will be led by Professor Michael Stratton and Dr Richard Wooster of the Institute of Cancer Research, and sited at the Sanger Centre in Hinxton, Cambridgeshire - already renowned for its leading role in the international Human Genome Project.