Timeline: UCSC leadership in genomics

Building a national data hub for cancer genomics is among the recent milestones in a long history of UCSC leadership in the field of genomics. The following timeline lists some of UCSC's major contributions to the field.

  • 1985: Chancellor Robert Sinsheimer convenes a group of eminent biologists in Santa Cruz to propose a massive project to determine the complete DNA sequence of the human genome--our genetic blueprint.
  • 1990: International Human Genome Project launched with the goal of a complete human genome sequence by 2005.
  • December 1999: UCSC's David Haussler joins the project to locate the genes in the human genome sequence and enlists molecular biology graduate student Jim Kent.
  • June 22, 2000: UCSC assembles the human genome sequence using Kent's 10,000-line computer program.
  • July 7, 2000: The UCSC genome bioinformatics group releases the first working draft of the human genome sequence on the web. Scientists download half a trillion bytes of information from the UCSC genome server in the first 24 hours.
  • September 2000: Kent develops the UCSC Genome Browser, which becomes an essential resource to biomedical science.
  • May 2004: Haussler's group publishes findings about ultra-conserved elements in the human genome that have remained unchanged through long periods of evolutionary history--one of Science magazine's breakthroughs of the year.
  • March 2009: UCSC Cancer Genomics Browser makes its debut, built on the UCSC Genome Browser platform and capable of visualizing data from cancer clinical trials.
  • November 2009: Haussler and an international team of collaborators launch the Genome 10K project to sequence the genomes of 10,000 vertebrate species.
  • May 2010: The Neanderthal genome draft sequence is posted on the UCSC Genome Browser and published with scientific findings in Science by UCSC's Richard E. (Ed) Green.
  • August 2011: Haussler's group begins work on national data center for cancer genomics.
  • May 2012: The Cancer Genomics Hub (CGHub) provides cancer researchers nationwide with efficient access to a large and rapidly growing store of biomedical data.
  • June 5, 2013: As a member of the organizing committee, David Haussler helps launch the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health, an international, non-profit alliance formed to help accelerate the potential of genomic medicine to advance human health.
  • 2015: CALeDNA project launched.
  • April 2016: BRCA Exchange opens with Internet access to genetic variants in the most important gene linked to breast cancer .
  • July 2016: St. Baldrick’s Foundation funds Treehouse Childhood Cancer Initiative to find solutions to rare and hard-to-treat cancers.
  • July 2017: Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative funds Benedict Paten and Jim Kent to build a data platform for Human Cell Atlas.
  • January 2018: Nature publishes first human genome sequenced with nanopore ultra-long read technology developed at UC Santa Cruz
  • 2018: Ed Green’s forensic DNA technique helps solve cold cases.
  • September 2019: Launch of the Human Pangenome Project, led by UC Santa Cruz. 
  • July 2020: First complete assembly of human X chromosome
  • February 2022: The UCSC Genomics Institute helps provide the computational backbone for a Guinness World Record in genome sequencing, opening up new opportunities for personalized medicine.
  • March 31, 2022: UCSC co-leads the Telomere-to-Telomere project that finally fully sequences an entire human genome from end to end without any gaps, an accomplishment that was previously thought to be impossible.
  • April 2022: A tool created by UCSC researchers becomes the default tool used by the CDC and other health organizations to track variants of the Covid-19 virus.