Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name King, Mary-Claire
Location University of Washington
Primary Field Genetics
Secondary Field Medical Genetics, Hematology and Oncology
 Election Citation
King was the first to identify, by linkage mapping, a genetic predisposition to breast cancer, establishing a paradigm for the study of genes causing common diseases. She also used genomic sequencing to identify children orphaned during the Argentinean dictatorship, illustrating how genetic technology can benefit humanity.
 Research Interests
Dr. King uses genetics and genomics to study informative families and populations in order to identify genes responsible for complex human conditions. She was the first to show that breast cancer is inherited in some families, as the result of mutations in the gene that she named BRCA1. In addition to inherited breast and ovarian cancer, her other current research interests include the genetic bases of schizophrenia, the genetic causes of birth disorders in children, and human genetic diversity and evolution. She pioneered the use of DNA sequencing for human rights investigations, developing the approach of sequencing mitochondrial DNA preserved in human remains, then applying this method to the identification of kidnapped children in Argentina and subsequently to cases of human rights violations on six continents.

 
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