Frederick Sanger was born in 1918 in England and is the winner of not one but two Nobel Prizes in chemistry. His first Nobel Prize was awarded in 1958 for his work developing a method to read the amino acid sequence of insulin, and his second was awarded in 1980 for his work in developing the DNA sequencing method now referred to as Sanger Sequencing, or “first-generation sequencing.” Sanger sequenced the first full genome, a virus called phiX174.
Sanger sequencing was used to sequence the first human genome in the Human Genome Project, one of the largest international collaborative projects, published in Nature in 2001 after more than a decade’s work by scientists around the globe. Currently, Sanger sequencing is used to validate next-generation sequencing data today when the mutation is at high enough percentage or for projects focused on single genes or regions. Sanger sequencing does not have the same sensitivity as more recent next-generation sequencing methods. Thus, Sanger is used for confirmation when the frequency of the mutation is at least 25%. For lower frequency in the sample, other methodology is required (eg, digital polymerase chain reaction).
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