Paving the future of genetic science on the strong foundations of our past

Our History


Medical Research Council (MRC), sets up its Radiobiology Unit


Mouse News Letter Archive

Mouse News Letter (MNL) was launched in 1949 as an informal bulletin of mouse genetics information, sponsored by the Nomenclature Committee.

MNL enabled mouse geneticists to report new mutants, results of mapping studies, research findings, holdings of mouse stocks. It published lists of known genes and the latest mouse map. On behalf of the Nomenclature Committee it printed mouse genetic nomenclature rules. The first issues were produced very simply on a duplicating machine and not all are easy to read.

Download Mouse News Letter Archive – April 1949 to November 1989

Download Mouse Genome Archive – February 1990 to December 1997


Dr Mary Lyon

Dr Mary Lyon, working with the MRC, discovers X chromosome inactivation.

In recognition of her work, Mary Lyon was made a Fellow of the Royal Society and in 1984 received their Royal Medal, and has been awarded the Pearl Meister Greengard Prize, the March of Dimes Prize and the Wolf Prize in Medicine. Her discovery has led to great advances in our understanding of X-linked inherited diseases such as haemophilia, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, fragile X syndrome and certain cancers.


Frozen Embryo and Sperm Archive is established


Genetic imprinting in mice is discovered

View our imprinting resource


The Mammalian Genetics Unit

The Mammalian Genetics Unit (MGU) was first established in 1995 as part of an expansion of the genetics division at MRC Harwell.

Research here is based around lifetime studies, from development to ageing. Using mouse models developed within the Mary Lyon Centre, the MGU conducts research into developmental disorders and age-related conditions such as diabetes, deafness and neurodegeneration. The findings from many of these research programmes are now moving towards the clinic. For example, genes first identified by researchers at the MGU now form part of the Genetics of Otitis Media Study, which seeks to identify genes responsible for the most common cause of hearing loss in children.


The Mary Lyon Centre

The Mary Lyon Centre first established. The centre has been named in recognition of the achievements of Mary Lyon

The Mary Lyon Centre is a national facility for mouse functional genomics, providing world-class expertise and tools to generate mouse models of human disease for MRC Harwell and the wider research community.

Mary Lyon Centre Enterance


Discover that the FTO gene leads to obesity

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