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.

15 May 1999

British and American scientists announce today that a major acceleration in the Human Genome Project will complete the foundations of this ambitious plan early in 2000.

As part of an international consortium undertaking the sequencing phase of the Human Genome Project, this UK/USA collaboration will make publicly available to the international scientific community the first 'working draft' of the human genome - man's genetic blueprint - by February next year, considerably earlier than expected.

10 Dec 1998

Funded by the Medical Research Council and America's National Institutes of Health, the Sanger Centre and the Genome Sequencing Centre at St Louis have completed a 15-year project to sequence the complete genome of the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans.

This completed gene sequence gives scientists and health practitioners world-wide valuable information to aid the study of the human body in health as well as in illness and may for example lead to new treatments for disease.

1 Oct 1998

A project to sequencing the genome of the bacterium which causes typhoid fever (Salmonella typhi) is now underway.

In collaboration with Professor Gordon Dougan from Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London, the Wellcome Trust funded Sanger Centre - the UK's leading genome research institute - is to sequence the genome of S. typhi CT18, a strain of S. typhi which is highly infectious and multi-drug resistant. Over 870,000 pounds has been awarded to the project through the Wellcome Trust's Beowulf initiative.

13 May 1998

The Wellcome Trust has announced a major increase in its flagship investment in British science in the sequencing of the human genome, the book of life.

Previously committed to funding the sequencing of one sixth of the human genome at the Sanger Centre, the Wellcome Trust has today decided to double this to one third. This decision will make available an additional £110 million over seven years, bringing the total Trust investment in the Human Genome Project to £205 million.

2 Nov 1995

The Governors of the Wellcome Trust have announced their decision to support the proposal from the Sanger Centre at the Wellcome Genome Campus, Hinxton, to spearhead a new massive international sequencing programme to produce the "human sequence map" by the year 2002.

The Trust has agreed to provide continued funding to the Sanger Centre to enable them to complete at least 500 million base-pairs of the human genome within this time-frame. This will make a very significant contribution to the worldwide effort, and it is anticipated that other international laboratories and funding agencies will participate to provide a complete picture of the human genome in the public domain.