top of page

Fred Sanger in insulin gene sequence


This is the first SangerArtwork that I created. It was made in August 2018 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Sanger, the inventor of DNA sequencing. Sanger is one of only 4 people to have won 2 Nobel prizes, both of his were in Chemistry. This artwork incorporates his image with elements of both of his Nobel Prizes.

The artwork is made up of >8000 bases of Sanger DNA sequence chromatogram with the image of Fred Sanger embedded into it. There are 27 rows of sequence at 300 bases across, designed to be printed at a size of around 22x22 in or 55x55 cm.

The sequence is centred around the insulin (INS) gene on human chromosome 11, recognising Sanger’s 1st Nobel Prize in 1958 for determining the amino acid sequence of the insulin protein. The DNA sequence chromatogram itself recognises his 2nd Nobel Prize in 1980 for developing the DNA sequencing method.

There are 2 versions of this artwork available. The second one includes some sequence with black background that makes the image stand out more but I kind of the like the more subtle nature of the 1st one.

These artworks are designed to be viewed both closeup - to reveal the DNA sequence, and far away - to reveal the image. The closeups that you can see below reveal some important details. The origin of the sequence (bases 1 to 8000) is shown in the bottom right corner - human genome version 38 - chromosome 11 - from base 2156560 to 2164559 - in the region of the insulin (INS) gene that runs from base 3219 to 4781 of the chromatogram. I have used the bases after 8000 to sign and date the design with a hidden “Sangerism”.

You can purchase these artworks in a number of different formats from Society6 or Redbubble using the links below.


Society6 (black)


Fred Sanger in Insulin gene sequence
Frederick_Sanger-INS gene region Aug 201
Frederick_Sanger-INS gene region Aug 201
Frederick_Sanger-INS gene region Aug 201
bottom of page