2008 Firsts for Women from WowOwow

kriek, marjolein kriek
Jerry Lampen/Reuters

Dr. Marjolein Kriek, First Woman to Have Her DNA Sequence Determined

December 27, 2009
by Christopher Coats
Celebrating two firsts in May, Dutch clinical geneticist Dr. Marjolein Kriek, 34, of Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC) in the Netherlands, became the first woman and the first European to have her complete DNA sequence determined.

Dr. Kriek joins the four men who have had their entire DNA decoded. Her DNA sequence will offer a clearer picture of the XX-chromosomes that women possess, versus the XY-chromosomes of men.

“We considered that sequencing only males, for 'completeness,' slows insight into X-chromosome variability. So it was time, after sequencing four males, to balance the genders a bit,” said Gert-Jan B van Ommen, leader of the LUMC team and director of the Center for Medical Systems Biology (CMSB), at the announcement of the research.

Dr. Kriek joins DNA pioneer James Watson as one of only five people to have had their DNA sequence determined. Craig Venter, also a gene researcher, has had his DNA sequenced, followed by two African men. Experts suggest that the procedure could become more common as its price continues to decrease.

The University announced Kriek’s sequencing in May, though final results will not be released until a comprehensive study has been completed.

The field of DNA sequencing dates back to Frederic Sanger’s invention of sequencing nearly 25 years ago. But large-scale analyses of the human genome, such as that proposed by the Human Genome Project in 1990, could not take place without the technologically advanced computers we have today. These computers are powerful enough to calculate the enormous amounts of information involved in DNA sequencing.

Most Recent Features