Our History

The Wellcome Trust established the Sanger Centre in 1992 to undertake the most ambitious project ever attempted in biology: to sequence the code of life – the human genome. By 2000 the first draft was completed. The Sanger Centre, now the Wellcome Sanger Institute, made the largest contribution to this global endeavour.

The Institute has championed open access to genomic data from the start, recognising its potential for medical applications.

An early adopter of new technology, we have now led the sequencing of hundreds of species’ genomes for the first time. During the 2000s, research programmes were established alongside our sequencing facility to understand the functions of genes and develop clinical applications of the findings.

As genome sequencing rapidly turned biology into a big data science, we developed unique infrastructure, robotics and software on a scale unprecedented in life sciences. Analysing genomic data continues to bring new discoveries in health and disease, and is advancing our understanding of life on Earth.

Browse some of our key discoveries and achievements below