Thirty years of world-changing science

In 1993 when the Sanger Institute was established to deliver the UK's contribution to the Human Genome Project, few could have envisaged the impact the organisation would have on science worldwide.

The science conducted by the Wellcome Sanger Institute opens up new fields of discovery, powers equitable global research, and delivers insights for clinical, societal and conservational benefit.

This report provides a brief insight into some of the outcomes of the work by our scientists, technical experts and staff over the past 30 years. 

Our history

The Wellcome Trust established the Sanger Centre in 1993 to undertake the most ambitious project ever attempted in biology, sequencing the human genome. The new facility developed laboratory infrastructure, robotics, team working and computational approaches on a scale unprecedented in life sciences.

In 2000, the first draft of the human genome was announced with the Sanger Centre championing open access to the data and making the largest contribution to the global collaborative endeavour. Genomes began to convert biology into big data science. The subsequently renamed Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute established long term research programmes to explore and apply genome sequences.

With support from Wellcome and world-leading facilities, Sanger Institute scientists today continue to undertake research that cannot easily be conducted elsewhere, using information from genome sequences to advance understanding of biology and improve health.

View a selection of our highlights in the timeline below.