Through his leadership of the project to sequence the genome of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, geneticist Robert Waterston established methods and strategies that brought whole-genome sequencing of metazoans to reality.
His laboratory extended these to the human genome, constructing a clone-based physical map that served as the framework for the public Human Genome Project. Waterston’s leadership in that project was essential in fostering and maintaining the international collaboration. He also led projects to define what is conserved over evolution between mouse and human genomes, and what has changed between chimpanzee and human genomes. His laboratory also contributed to the initial human Single Nucleotide Polymorphism map. Through his efforts, all of this sequence is in the public domain without restriction, where it continues to foster discovery and medical advance. More recently, Waterston has directed his efforts toward discovering how the information stored in a genome produces a living organism. His own laboratory again focuses on the nematode C. elegans, developing new tools to understand the network of developmental control.
- George W. Beadle Award, 2000
- Gairdner Award, 2002
- Dan David Prize, 2002
- Alfred P. Sloan Jr. Prize, 2002
- Gruber Prize in Genetics, 2005
- Waterston, R.H. et al. "Initial sequencing and analysis of the mouse genome." Nature 420, no. 6915 (2002): 560–62.
- International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium. "Initial sequencing and analysis of the human genome." Nature 409 (2001): 860–921.
- International Human Genome Mapping Consortium. "A physical map of the human genome." Nature 409, no. 6822 (2001): 934–41.
- International SNP Map Working Group. "A map of human genome sequence variation containing 1.42 million single nucleotide polymorphisms." Nature 409 (2001): 928–33.
- C. elegans Sequencing Consortium. “Genome sequence of the nematode C. elegans: A platform for investigating biology.” Science 282 (1998): 2012–2018.
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