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We play a leading role in the development of more efficient and cost-effective sequencing technologies.

A male fruit fly gland showing secondary cells (small cluster at the tip of each 'arm' of the gland, green) and circumferential muscle fibres (shown as the dominant mass streaking across the gland, red/pink) © Clive Wilson
Male Drosophila accessory gland

Understanding genetics through computation and experimentation

Our functional genomics program combines theory and practice to capitalize on the wealth of information available from genomic sequencing. We’re driven by a desire to understand human disease through analysing patients and relevant animal models – which means our work can often be translated into clinical practice.

Much of our work is based on the core principle of using model organisms to better understand human disease. A major driving force behind our research, for instance, is the MRC Functional Genomics Unit (FGU). Using genomic information from patients, it combines rigorous computational analysis and interpretation to identify the genetic origins of common neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis.

Elsewhere, our researchers work across a wide range of diseases, but are always led by clinical relevance. Studying the single gene defects responsible for Duchenne muscular dystrophy has led to effective treatments for the disease in mice which are now being translated for use in human, for instance, while computational analysis of enormous genomic data sets is shedding light on the origins of neurodevelopmental disorders like autism and ADHD. Even some of our most basic work, such as fruit fly genetics, is resulting in the discovery of new cellular organelles and uncovering the basis of sexual development.

In the future, the availability of genomic data looks set to increase exponentially, and our Computational Genomics Analysis and Training Programme is equipping researchers from a diverse range of backgrounds to process and interpret their results more efficiently. While there’s no denying that genomic information has begun to transform the treatment of patients, we hope to ensure it will increasingly make good on its early promise and continues to flourish.



Groups within this theme

Molecular Analysis of Neuromuscular Diseases
Davies Group

Molecular Analysis of Neuromuscular Diseases

We investigate neuroimmune molecular mechanisms underlying obesity.
Domingos Group

We investigate neuroimmune molecular mechanisms ...

Genetic Dissection of Sexual Behaviour
Goodwin Group

Genetic Dissection of Sexual Behaviour

Sleep, brain and behaviour laboratory
Vyazovskiy Group

Sleep, brain and behaviour laboratory

Understanding molecular mechanisms of age-related neurodegenerative diseases to generate novel molecular therapies
Wade-Martins Group

Understanding molecular mechanisms of age-related ...

Exosomes, Microcarriers and Regulated Secretion: Complex Forms of Inter-Cellular and Inter-Organism Communication
Wilson Group

Exosomes, Microcarriers and Regulated Secretion: ...

Latest news

New research to radically alter our understanding of synaptic development

A new study from the Molnár group on the role of regulated synaptic vesicular release in specialised synapse formation has made it to the cover of Cerebral Cortex.

Being "in the zone": how waking activity controls sleep need

A new study from the Vyazovskiy group suggests that how and where we spend our time while awake impacts how much we need to sleep - it does not only depend on how long we are awake.

New target identified to develop treatment for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

A new study from the Smart group has shed light on a key regulatory step in the initiation and progression of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm by revealing the protective role of a previously little known small protein.