Genome Lates: Free on-line public talks to celebrate the 20th anniversary year of the Human Genome Project

First talk: ‘Reading the book of life: What has genome sequencing ever done for us?’ with Sanger Institute Director Mike Stratton on 30th July

The Wellcome Genome Campus is launching a series of free monthly ‘Genome Lates’, on-line public talks to celebrate 20 years since the landmark first draft of the complete human genome was produced.

Created by Wellcome Genome Campus Public Engagement, the series of informal conversations will run between 30th July and 26th November.  Aimed at the general public, the free online talks will present personal stories and reflect on breathtaking advances in genomic science, while inviting people to ask questions, and will discuss and share views of the impact of new discoveries on their lives and wider society, today and into the future.

The talks are free to attend and will be held on the online platform, Zoom at 6.00 – 7.30pm. The first event is 30th July, and further dates are 27th August, 28th September, 29th October and 26th November 2020. For more information and to register please visit

Hosted by well-known science writers or broadcasters, the evening discussions will give audiences the chance to meet the people behind the science. These include current Wellcome Genome Campus and Institute Directors, scientists working to defeat the spread of COVID-19, and people who worked during the earliest days of the Human Genome Project.

The Human Genome Project was an international biological research project, launched in September 1990. Its goal was to sequence the human genome for the first time and make the data freely available online. The first human genome took 13 years to complete and was the largest global collaboration ever undertaken in biology, involving thousands of scientists.

The Wellcome Sanger Institute was the largest single contributor to the project, sequencing almost one-third of the human genome, with the European Bioinformatics Institute providing essential computational support and data analysis.


 “With genomics and biodata featuring ever more in peoples’ everyday lives, we’re excited to mark the 20th anniversary of the entire human genome’s first draft with five lively conversational events. Inspired by the ground-breaking science happening at the Wellcome Genome Campus, we hope the series will provoke discussion and invite people to ask questions and share views, particularly on where genomics science might take us in the future.”

Dr Ken Skeldon, Head of the Public Engagement team at the Wellcome Genome Campus

The Genome Lates series starts on Thursday 30th July at 6pm with Professor Sir Mike Stratton, Director of the Sanger Institute, in conversation with award-winning writer, presenter and broadcaster Dr Kat Arney. In this event ‘Reading the book of life: What has genome sequencing ever done for us?’ they will reflect on the 20 years after the first draft of the Human Genome Project, and how far we have come since then. From gaining deep understanding of human health, ageing and diversity through to bold plans to sequence the genomes of the entire tree of life and a future where it is possible to write and edit DNA as easily as we can read it.

Press Contacts

If you need help or have any queries, please contact us.

Emily Mobley
Media Manager
Tel +44 (0)1223 496 851


Dr Matthew Midgley
Media Officer
Tel +44 (0)1223 494 856


Dr Samantha Wynne
Media Officer
Tel +44 (0)1223 492 368


Press office
Wellcome Sanger Institute, Hinxton,
Cambridgeshire, CB10 1SA, UK
Tel +44 (0) 7748 379849


Selected websites

  • About Wellcome Genome Campus Public Engagement 

    Wellcome Genome Campus Public Engagement’s ambition is to build a world-leading engaged research campus by supporting and empowering the Wellcome Genome Campus community to develop relationships across a range of different audiences. We do this through a varied programme of support, mentoring and the creation of live and digital experiences.

    Wellcome Genome Campus Public Engagement is part of Connecting Science.

  • About the Wellcome Genome Campus

    The Wellcome Genome Campus is home to some of the world’s foremost institutes and organisations in genomics and computational biology, committed to delivering life-changing science with the reach, scale and imagination to solve some of humanity’s greatest challenges.

  • About the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI)

    The European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) is a global leader in the storage, analysis and dissemination of large biological datasets. We help scientists realise the potential of ‘big data’ by enhancing their ability to exploit complex information to make discoveries that benefit humankind.

    We are at the forefront of computational biology research, with work spanning sequence analysis methods, multi-dimensional statistical analysis and data-driven biological discovery, from plant biology to mammalian development and disease.

    We are part of EMBL and are located on the Wellcome Genome Campus, one of the world’s largest concentrations of scientific and technical expertise in genomics.

  • About the Wellcome Sanger Institute

    The Wellcome Sanger Institute is a world leading genomics research centre. We undertake large-scale research that forms the foundations of knowledge in biology and medicine. We are open and collaborative; our data, results, tools and technologies are shared across the globe to advance science. Our ambition is vast – we take on projects that are not possible anywhere else. We use the power of genome sequencing to understand and harness the information in DNA. Funded by Wellcome, we have the freedom and support to push the boundaries of genomics. Our findings are used to improve health and to understand life on Earth. Find out more at or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and on our Blog.

  • About Wellcome

    Wellcome exists to improve health by helping great ideas to thrive. We support researchers, we take on big health challenges, we campaign for better science, and we help everyone get involved with science and health research. We are a politically and financially independent foundation.