Title: Adult nematode (Caenorhabditis) | Credit: Wellcome Library

Microscope photograph of C. elegans worms

Alan Coulson | Photograph | Human Genome Project

From 1967, Alan Coulson worked with Nobel Prize winner Fred Sanger, the pioneer of DNA sequencing, at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge. When Sanger retired in 1983, Alan Coulson was much in demand because of his experience of sequencing genomes. Coulson joined John Sulston’s team working on mapping the C. elegans genome, a project Coulson self-deprecatingly described as ‘nutty’. By 1989 they were able to display the map in a series of overlapping pieces of paper on the wall at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory worm meeting.