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Mary-Claire King

Human Geneticist, Humanitarian

Mary-Claire King is a geneticist and the first researcher to pinpoint a gene linked to breast cancer, explaining why the disease is inherited in some families. A professor at the University of Washington in Seattle, she also researches gene regulation, human diversity and evolution, and the genetic basis for disorders such as schizophrenia. King also pioneered the use of mitochondrial DNA sequencing for human rights investigations, a practice used to identify kidnapped children in Argentina and applied to other cases around the world. She has served on a multitude of scientific and advisory panels and received dozens of awards for her work.