School of Social and Political Science

Research project type




Medical Translation in the History of Modern Genomics (TRANSGENE) was a research project that explored the development of genomic science across three different species: the baker and brewer’s yeast (S. cerevisiae), the pig (Sus scrofa) and Homo sapiens.

By combining historical research with quantitative and qualitative methods in the social sciences, it mapped different ways of organising the practices of DNA sequencing over time and developed an extensive chronological and analytical history of genomics: from the yeast genome sequencing proposals of the 1980s to the completion of the whole-genome sequence of the pig in 2012.

When we think about genomic science, the success story of the Human Genome Project comes most readily to mind, along with the image of large-scale genome centres producing DNA sequences on an industrial scale. Yet other genomic initiatives in non-human species reveal that there were less hierarchical, smaller-scale ways of conducting DNA sequencing and, crucially, connecting the resulting information to medical and agricultural goals.

The project was funded by the European Research Council and employed nine different people, including:

  • historians of science
  • researchers in Science and Technology Studies (STS)
  • innovation studies scholars
  • experts in quantitative Social Network Analysis (SNA)

The project started in October 2016 and concluded at the end of March 2022.

Key publications

García-Sancho M. and Lowe J.W.E. (2023) A History of Genomics across Species, Communities and Projects (Palgrave Macmillan). Open access monograph.

García-Sancho M. and Lowe J.W.E. (Eds., 2022) The Sequences and the Sequencers: A New Approach to Investigating the Emergence of Yeast, Human, and Pig GenomicsHistorical Studies in the Natural Sciences, 52(3), special journal issue formed by five open access papers:

  1. Leng R., Viry G, García-Sancho M., Lowe J.W.E., Wong M. and Vermeulen N. (2022) "The Sequences and the Sequencers: What Can a Mixed-Methods Approach Reveal about the History of Genomics?", Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, 52 (3): 277–319.
  2. García-Sancho M., Leng R., Viry G, Wong M., Vermeulen N. and Lowe J.W.E (2022) "The Human Genome Project as a Singular Episode in the History of Genomics", Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, 52 (3): 320–360. Published open access.
  3. García-Sancho M., Lowe J.W.E, Viry G, Leng R., Wong M. and Vermeulen N. (2022) "Yeast Sequencing: 'Network' Genomics and Institutional Bridges", Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, 52 (3): 361–400. Published open access.
  4. Lowe J.W.E, Leng R., Viry G, Wong M., Vermeulen N. and García-Sancho M. (2022) "The Bricolage of Pig Genomics", Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, 52 (3): 401–442. Published open access.
  5. Lowe J.W.E, García-Sancho M., Leng R., Wong M., Vermeulen N. and Viry G. (2022) "Across and within Networks: Thickening the History of Genomics", Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, 52 (3): 443–475. Published open access.

Visit the TRANSGENE website for more information or contact the project’s Principal Investigator, Miguel García-Sancho.


This project was funded by the European Research Council (Starting Grants scheme, number 678757).

Research themes

  • Historical approaches to science, technology and medicine
  • Social studies of biology and medicine
Please check back for details of upcoming events.