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Maynard Olson, 2003-06-01

 Item — Multiple Containers
Oral History | Maynard Olson
Oral History | Maynard Olson

Scope and Contents

Maynard Olson, an early architect of the Human Genome Project, is interviewed by Mila Pollock and Kiryn Haslinger on June 6, 2003, at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in Cold Spring Harbor, New York.

Maynard Olson discusses the following in his interview: Scene 1. Involvement in genomics -- Scene 2. Albert Committee -- Scene 3. Surprises in the Human Genome Project -- Scene 4. Jim Watson and the Human Genome Project -- Scene 5. Competition in Science -- Scene 6. Craig Venter and Celera Genomics -- Scene 7. The Human Genome Project: public and private competition -- Scene 8. Gene patenting -- Scene 9. Government involvement in the Human Genome Project -- Scene 10. Changes in the Human Genome Project -- Scene 11. Dangers of genome research -- Scene 12. The future of genomics -- Scene 13. Spirituality and science -- Scene 14. Cold Spring Harbor Symposia and meetings -- Scene 15. Jim Watson -- Scene 16. Rich Roberts -- Scene 17. Bruce Stillman.


  • Creation: 2003-06-01


Conditions Governing Access

Portions of this collection have been digitized and are available online: Select tapes have been digitized thanks to support from CLIR Recordings at Risk Grant awarded in 2021, these tapes are available for research online via our Oral History Website and in person at CSHL Archives. Please contact CSHL Archives with any questions regarding availability.

Biographical / Historical

Maynard V. Olson received his Bachelor’s degree in chemistry from California Institute of Technology and Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from Stanford University (1970). After five years on the chemistry faculty at Dartmouth College, he shifted his research efforts to molecular genetics at Washington University in St Louis and the University of Washington in Seattle. He is Professor Emeritus of Genome Sciences and of Medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle. A pioneer in genomic research, Dr. Olson launched the ultimately successful effort to construct a detailed physical map of the yeast genome in 1979. He also led efforts to develop yeast artificial chromosomes (YACs) that allowed for the study of large portions of the human genome and proved invaluable in the tracking of disease-related genes, and he introduced STS-content mapping which led to the first physical maps of whole human chromosomes. Dr. Olson is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has been awarded the Genetics Society of America Medal, the City of Medicine Award, and the Gairdner Foundation International Award for his scientific contributions to the Human Genome Project. Influenced by Watson’s book, Molecular Biology of the Gene, Olsen started working with the genome in the 1970’s. He met Jim Watson when they both served on Bruce Albert’s Committee of the National Research Council. Olsen also helped to organize several genome meetings at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory during the 1980s.


1 Cassettes (Camcorder footage) : MiniDV - CSHL1127

1 Cassettes (Working copy) : Hi-8 - CSHL1289

1 Optical Disks (Talking science with Maynard Olson) : DVD ; 57 min.

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English