Stephen J. O'Brien

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Stephen J. O'Brien "trained in molecular and population genetics at Cornell University under the mentorship of Bruce Wallace and Ross MacIntyre. He joined the National Cancer Institute as a post-doc in 1971 and is now chief of the NCI's Laboratory of Genomic Diversity, which he founded in the late 1980s. He is known for documenting the remarkable genetic uniformity of African cheetahs, resolving the taxonomic riddle of the giant panda's evolutionary origins and for describing heretofore unrecognized species of orangutans, African forest elephants and Bornean clouded leopards. He is credited with the discovery of CCR5 delta 32, the first of twenty human AIDS restriction genes, as well as leading the Feline Genome Project, a major player in comparative genomics across the mammalian radiations. The Laboratory of Genomic Diversity has assembled over 62,000 animal and 424,000 human tissue/DNA specimens, facilitating wide-ranging studies of disease gene associations, species adaptation and natural history by O'Brien's many colleagues." [1]

He is the author of Tears of the Cheetah: The Genetic Secrets of Our Animal Ancestors (2005).

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  1. Stephen J. O'Brien, accessed June 25, 2009.