A British genetics pioneer who has won one of science’s most valuable prizes is poised to unveil a new technology that may transform our understanding of disease and ageing.
Professor Sir Shankar Balasubramanian was awarded a $1 million Breakthrough Prize last week for helping to invent next generation sequencing (NGS), an ultra-fast method of reading DNA that has revolutionised the life sciences.
NGS works by rapidly reading the four “letters” — A, C, T and G — that form the backbone of our genetic code.
But Balasubramanian believes that the DNA alphabet is broader than this. He is now working in the field of “epigenetics”, which looks at how our genetic material undergoes subtle molecular changes which, in essence, creates new letters.
“These epigenetic letters
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