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Double Celebration of Department of Genetics

20th/40th Celebration

DNA is the molecular blueprint for all living things, putting Genetics at the heart of all biology. On Saturday, April 9, 2005, we will celebrate the anniversaries of two significant events in the history of this universal subject:

40 years ago the Department of Genetics of the University of Leicester was founded. Since then, it has become an internationally renowned centre of pioneering research, including studies of:

- the molecular basis of human genetic disease
- the effects of radiation on our genes
- the genetics of ageing and cancer
- the histories of human populations
- the genetics of biological clocks
- the reshuffling and repair of DNA
- the genetic basis of bacterial and fungal infection

The award of the prestigious Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher Education in 2002 recognized the Department’s excellence not only in research and teaching, but also the impact of its work on society, and the promotion of the public understanding of science. The Genetics Department is now the core of the Institute of Genetics, a network of scientists extending across many departments that encompasses the extraordinary breadth of genetic research.

20 years ago in the Department, Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys developed the technique of DNA fingerprinting, a powerful and elegant way to distinguish between different individuals. This discovery had far-reaching consequences:

- the identification and conviction of criminals
- the exoneration of innocent suspects
- the identification of victims of crimes, disasters and wars
- the reliable testing of paternity or other family relationships
- the management of endangered species breeding programmes through animal DNA fingerprinting

Sir Alec has won countless international awards for his research, not only on DNA fingerprinting but also on the fundamental mechanisms that generate diversity in human DNA.

We invite the people of Leicester to a celebration of these twin anniversaries, for a day that will be devoted to putting across the science that excites us, to the public whose lives it ultimately affects. Come and join us!



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Information supplied by: Barbara Whiteman
Last updated: 25 August 2004 15:11
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