Chemist Lloyd M. Smith's entry into the world of gene sequencing came about during his postdoc days, in Leroy Hood's molecular biology lab at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. With his background in fluorescence chemistry and instrumentation, Smith saw a way to speed the tedious process of reading DNA sequences off gels. The result was the development of the first automated DNA sequencer (L.M. Smith, et al., "Fluorescence Detection in Automated DNA Sequence Analysis," Nature, 321:674-79, 1986). Smith, now at the University of Wisconsin, Madison has been working on gene sequencing ever since, coming up even with faster ways of sequencing DNA.

For Smith and other physical scientists, the grail of the government's Human Genome Project (HGP) is not the sequence and analysis of our 3 billion DNA bases, as it is for the biologists, but the technology that will actually do it. Armed with an array of...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?