34-year-old Olga Dudchenko created a better way to sequence a genome. The Ukrainian is ranked among the innovators by MIT Technology Review at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She uses Hi-C, a technique originally developed to study how chromosomes fold, to show which bits of DNA lie physically close to one another. Coupled with Dudchenko’s methods and algorithms, this makes assembling genomes easy.
In late 2018, Dudchenko and her colleagues shared the first results of DNA Zoo, including end-to-end chromosome sequences for more than 50 species, including the cheetah, red panda, and Brazilian porcupine. In a world of mounting extinction, these species’ DNA code may one day be all that’s left of them. Modern gene sequencing machines are very fast, reading through the DNA of a peanut, eggplant, or armadillo in two days. But what they spit out are billions of disorganized fragments of DNA code. Olga Dudchenko has helped to make the next step—pasting those bits together in the right order, to reveal the actual genome—faster and cheaper.
Since 1999, MIT Technology Review has been publishing 35 to 35 innovators annually. This is a list of scientists under 35 who have made significant contributions to science. These can be representatives from various fields, ranging from biology to computer science.