Anglo-American research on the human genome, represented by Uncle Sam and John Bull knitting DNA. Scraperboard drawing by Bill Sanderson, 1990.
- Sanderson, Bill.
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About this work
The Human Genome Project was formally established in 1990 to discover and document the sequence of twinned combinations of chemicals that have been identified as forming the genes of human beings. An American centre at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, was funded largely by the American government, and a British laboratory at the Sanger Centre in Cambridgeshire was funded by the Wellcome Trust. There were also many other partners, in China, France, Germany and Japan, but in Britain and elsewhere it was perceived as an Anglo-American project. Hence this drawing, produced in 1990 to publicise the project, shows the American symbol Uncle Sam and the British symbol John Bull knitting strands of DNA in friendly collaboration. In 2000 the completion of a rough draft of the human genome was announced simultaneously by the American President (Bill Clinton) and the British Prime Minister (the Rt. Hon. Tony Blair), and in 2003 a more precise version of the genome was published in the scientific journal Nature. The project continued. It is an example of the large, multi-centre, collaborative programmes which came to receive a substantial proportion of scientific budgets, in contrast to the single worker pursuing his own ideas in a solitary laboratory, as happened for example in the 17th century