Rosanna Wan | The Human Pangenome

Massive Science

From the creator:

In 2003, biologists created the first ever human genome sequence. The 3 billion DNA letter sequence, called the reference genome, was mostly made up of DNA donated from people in the city of Buffalo, New York. So far, when clinicians and researchers study an individual’s genome, they compare it to the reference genome to identify differences. But can you compare all of humanity to one genome? No, because one reference genome does not convey the genomic diversity of the human species. We need many reference genomes--a pangenome. This monumental undertaking is already taking place and is poised to redefine the future of genomic research and human health.

Further reading:

A co-production of Massive Science ( and NIH/NHGRI (

Presented by the National Human Genome Research Institute
Direction and Animation by Rosanna Wan
Narration by Dr. Shawntel Okonkwo
Sound + Music by Skillbard
Script by Harriet Bailey and Prabarna Ganguly
Producer Harriet Bailey
Senior Producer Nadja Oertelt
Executive Producer Prabarna Ganguly
Produced for and supported by the National Human Genome Research Institute

Winner of the 2020 DCSWA Newsbrief Award (multimedia category)