Wilson Lab Research

Over the past few years, our laboratory at Washington University School of Medicine has been a major player in the effort to sequence the human genome. We have contributed over one-fourth of the publicly available sequence data, constructed a clone-based physical map to tie together sequences from all centers, and are currently engaged in activities aimed at both analyzing the genome sequence data and improving on its quality. As a prelude to sequencing the human genome, my group led or participated in large efforts to complete the genome sequences of the yeast S. cerevisiae, the roundworm C. elegans, and the model plant A. thaliana. Additional major projects have focused on the analysis of transcribed sequences (ESTs) from a variety of organisms including mice and humans. Through this work, we have developed a comprehensive suite of laboratory technology and computational tools for large-scale analysis of complex genomes. As we begin to understand the human genome and discover the genes responsible both for disease and normal cellular functions, we wish to re-focus our ability to develop large-scale nucleic acid analysis technology towards the study of gene expression and variation and their respective roles in disease. Although others have developed methods for assaying changes in gene expression and detecting sequence polymorphisms, none of these methods are currently suitable for the types of large-scale analyses that will be required to understand the complex genetic landscapes undoubtedly characteristic of many human diseases. We believe that our past experiences in developing and utilizing high-throughput methods and strategies for whole genome sequencing provide us with a unique viewpoint on how to bring some of the necessary technical advances to these new fields of molecular biology.