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Mary-Claire King

American Cancer Society Professor, University of Washington in Seattle

Mary-Claire King is American Cancer Society Professor at the University of Washington in Seattle. She was the first to show that breast cancer is inherited in some families, as the result of mutations in the gene that she named BRCA1. Her research interests include the genetic bases of schizophrenia, the genetic causes of congenital Mendelian disorders, and human genetic diversity and evolution. She pioneered the use of DNA sequencing for human-rights investigations, developing the approach of sequencing -mitochondrial DNA preserved in human remains, then applying this method to the identification of kidnapped children in Argentina and subsequently to cases of human-rights violations on six continents. In 2016, she was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Obama.