Deciphering the DNA Code

A Cryptologist Takes a Crack at Deciphering DNA’s Deep Secrets. ‘Thirty years ago, Nick Patterson worked in the secret halls of the Government Communications Headquarters, the code-breaking British agency that unscrambles intercepted messages and encrypts clandestine communications. He applied his brain to “the hardest problems the British had,” said Dr. Patterson, a mathematician. Today, at 59, he is tackling perhaps the toughest code of all — the human genome. Five years ago, Dr. Patterson joined the Broad Institute, a joint research center of Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His dexterity with numbers has already helped uncover startling information about ancient human origins.’

Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. ‘The Broad Institute’s mission is to fulfill this promise by empowering creative scientists to construct new powerful tools for genomic medicine, to make them accessible to the global scientific community, and to apply them to the understanding and treatment of disease. The Institute is a research collaboration involving faculty, professional staff and students from throughout the MIT and Harvard academic and medical communities and is governed jointly by the two universities. It was founded in 2003 through the far-sighted generosity of philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad.’

DNA sequencing grant marks next frontier in genomics. ‘The Broad Institute has received an award of nearly $200M from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) to support applications and enhancements of large-scale DNA sequencing for biomedicine. Over the next four years, the grant will fund a wide range of biomedical projects, including efforts to understand the genetic basis of cancer and other complex human diseases, to dissect the regulation of the human genome based on comparisons with genomes of other mammals, and to decode and analyze the genomes of key microbes.’

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