Steering Cancer Genomics Into the Fast Lane

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Science  29 Mar 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6127, pp. 1540-1542
DOI: 10.1126/science.339.6127.1540

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Concentration and drive have stood Mardis in good stead throughout her almost 30-year career in genome sequencing. Now co-director of the Genome Institute at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and one of the few female leaders in the field, she jumped into DNA sequencing during its earliest days, was instrumental in helping decode the human genome faster than expected, and has since pushed the limits of the technology to learn about cancer. Now, oncologists can envision the day when they routinely sequence their patients' tumors, but when Mardis and her colleagues broke new ground by fully deciphering the first cancer genome, most researchers considered it an impossibly difficult and expensive task.