MRC Human Genetics Unit
Medical Research Council Human Genetics Unit


The MRC Human Genetics Unit discovers how changes in our DNA impact our lives.

We combine the latest computational and experimental technologies to investigate how our genomes work to control the function of molecules, cells and tissues in people and populations. For more than half a century our research has been dedicated to understanding human genetic disease. Today we continue to apply our clinical and scientific expertise, harnessing the power of complex data, to improve health, and the lives of patients and their families.


Our Lives

Scientific aims:

  • To understand the molecular basis of human genetic disease and normal development – especially that of the eye, the brain and growth
  • To identify and understand the genome sequence variants involved in common disease risk and quantitative traits
  • To understand how the flow of information from DNA through RNA to the organism is regulated
  • To identify the forces of mutation and selection that influence human genome variation
  • To investigate opportunities for novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches

The MRC Human Genetics Unit has strength and depth in experimental and computational biology, in an environment where ideas, reagents and facilities are shared, and this is what is needed to pursue the fundamental molecular, cellular and developmental mechanisms that underlie human genetic disease and normal biology.

Professor Wendy Bickmore FRSE FMedSciDirector, MRC Human Genetics Unit

We are part of the Institute of Genetics and Cancer (formerly the Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine) at the University of Edinburgh

Further Information:

MRC HGU Research pages


MRC Human Genetics Unit Executive committee
Academic and support staff responsible for scientific strategy and smooth running of the MRC Human Genetics Unit.

History of the MRC Human Genetics Unit

MRC Mammalian Genome Unit, Kings Buildings: 1972-76
First established in 1956 as the Clinical Effects of Radiation Unit under the directorship of Professor William Michael Court-Brown.