Jane Ades, NHGRI

Originally published on Wednesday, February 26, 2014. Updated to include audio from St. Louis on the Air.

(Courtesy: Washington University in St. Louis)

Four of the top twenty-one influential researchers in the world live in the St. Louis area.

The researchers are from Washington University in St. Louis and all are in the field of genomics.  The findings come from Thomson Reuters ScienceWatch, an open web resource for science metrics and analysis.

Benjamin Raphael, Brown University

In separate studies both published today, researchers at Washington University mapped the genomes of two types of cancer: endometrial cancer, and acute myeloid leukemia.

Both studies are part of The Cancer Genome Atlas project, an effort funded by the National Institutes of Health to study the genetic basis of 20 major human cancers.

Jane Ades, NHGRI

An international consortium of researchers has sequenced the genomes of more than 1000 people, creating the largest catalog yet of human genetic variation.

Richard Wilson directs the Washington University Genome Institute, one of four major research institutions involved in the 1000 Genomes Project.

He says researchers identified rare genetic variants that may eventually explain why some people are more susceptible to certain diseases like cancer or Alzheimer’s.

Jane Ades, NHGRI

A federal panel is calling for stronger privacy protections for human genetic data.

In a report out today, the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues said “whole genome sequencing” — which provides a unique blueprint of each person’s DNA —  holds great promise for advancing medical research and clinical care.

But the Commission said genetic data can also be misused and need to be adequately protected.

There's a local connection to this development - The Genome Institute at Washington University School of Medicine says they "played an important role in this project by generating genome sequence data." Learn more via the link.

An international team of researchers has sequenced the genomes of two species of orangutan.

Lead researcher Devin Locke of the Genome Center at Washington University said a primary motivation for studying the genes of orangutans is their close evolutionary relationship to humans.

“The lessons you learn from studying these species can be applied to understanding of our own evolution and the evolution of the human population as well,” Locke said.