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

Date: 24 July 2020

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 20thanniversary 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.
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.

Visit the Public Engagement website: Genome Lates: A special Human Genome Project anniversary season

More information about the Human Genome Project: