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Investing in Discovery

An Overview of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences


The Dance of Life

Division of Biomedical Technology, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology

Division of Cell Biology and Biophysics

Division of Genetics and Developmental Biology

Division of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biological Chemistry

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Division of Genetics and Developmental Biology

A special enzyme encircles the double helix to repair a broken strand of DNA. Courtesy of Tom Ellenberger, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.This division supports research on the structure of genetic material, including how that material functions, governs development, underlies inherited traits, influences behavior and affects susceptibility to diseases.

This division focuses on questions like:

  • How do cells, including various kinds of stem cells, become specialized?
  • How do genes control the life and death of cells and the daily (circadian) rhythms of organisms?
  • How do organisms use proteins and small RNA molecules to regulate the activity of genes?
  • What can we learn about human development, health and disease by studying organisms like bacteria, yeast and fruit flies?
  • How and why has the genetic material of human populations changed over time?

The division also supports the Human Genetic Cell Repository External link, which houses a collection of carefully maintained human cell lines for use in biomedical research.

More information about this division is available at

This page last reviewed on September 18, 2012