World-changing research celebrated to mark 50th anniversary of University of Leicester Department of Genetics

Posted by er134 at Oct 09, 2014 11:25 AM |
Free public event to showcase pioneering genetics research and reflect on history of institution on Saturday 11 October

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 9 October 2014

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The University of Leicester Department of Genetics, where 30 years ago Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys made his world-famous DNA fingerprinting discovery, is to celebrate its 50th anniversary on Saturday 11 October with a series of free events to engage the public with the fascinating world of genetics research.

The day-long event of talks and exhibits will showcase the pioneering research that has taken place within the Department – and areas in which scientific discoveries hope to be made in the future.

Since being established in 1964 the Department of Genetics has built a world-renowned reputation for itself, becoming a centre for pioneering research and teaching and pushing back the frontiers of knowledge in human and medical genetics, microbial pathogens and disease, evolution and the genetics of behaviour and development.

Over the last five decades research within the Department has had a global impact on forensic science and crime fighting as well as resolving paternity and immigration issues and questions of identity.

On the day you can find out more about:

  • The role of bacteria
  • Sex and the single chromosome
  • DNA and mutations
  • DNA and the identification of Richard III
  • Ageing and cancer
  • Genetics, behaviour and disease

Professor Julian Ketley, Head of the Department of Genetics, said: “This October marks 50 years since the Department of Genetics, led by its founder Professor Bob Pritchard, was formed and admitted its first students. To celebrate this, we are pleased to announce a day of talks and exhibits highlighting not only our history but the research and teaching happening in our Department, from flies to Richard III, and from bacteria to brain disease. We’re looking forward to welcoming friends, former members of the Department, and members of the public to share our day of celebration with us.”

Last month a portrait of Professor Jeffreys painted by prominent artist Tess Barnes was revealed at the Department of Genetics, celebrating the 30th anniversary of his landmark discovery of DNA fingerprinting.

The free public event will take place at the University of Leicester’s Bennett Building and Rattray Lecture Theatre on Saturday 11 October.

A full list of sessions on the day is available here:

The event is free and open to all. Attendees can register their interest by emailing

If you have questions for the “Question Time” session, please email them to with Question Time in the subject title.


Notes to Editors:

For more information please contact Manish Maisuria from the Department of Genetics, email:

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