Genetic Science Powered By Family

Launched in 2012, the Utah Genome Project is a large-scale, genome sequencing and analysis initiative that is discovering genetic signatures of inherited disease. Current projects are focusing on understanding conditions ranging from cancers to spontaneous preterm birth to suicidality.

The UGP is unique among genome initiatives because instead of studying unrelated individuals, it utilizes the ancestral power represented within the Utah Population Database [UPDB]—the world’s largest repository of family histories and public health records linked to clinical records. Comparing genomic sequences within multigenerational high-risk families works like a magnifying glass for finding the genetic cause of their condition.

Already, UGP investigators have identified more than 50 genes behind common and rare diseases — including breast and ovarian cancers (BRCA1, 2), colon cancer (APC), and heart arrhythmia (HERG) — and research in animal models is elucidating the biology behind these conditions. In collaboration with the Center for Genomic Medicine, these discoveries are advancing a new era of precision medicine and population health.

Read the Latest Genetics News.

Research Snapshots


Scientific Advisory Board

Pinar Bayrak-Toydemir, MD, PhD

 Professor, Pathology and Pediatrics
 Medical Director, Molecular Genetics and Genomics

Jorge Contreras, JD

Associate Professor, College of Lawcontreras-headshot

Hilary Coon, PhD

Professor, Psychiatry

David Crockett, PhD

 Director, Bioinformaticscrockett-headshot

Willard Dere, MD (Ad Hoc)

Co-Director, Center for Genomic Medicine
Professor, Internal Medicine

Stephen Guthery, MD , MS

 Division Chief, Pediatric Gastroenterology 
Professor, Pediatrics

Heidi Hanson, PhD, MS

Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery
 Assistant Director of Research, Utah Population Database

Lynn Jorde, PhD

 Executive Director, Utah Genome Project     
Professor and Chair, Human Genetics

Gabor Marth, DSc

 Professor, Human Genetics

Charles Murtaugh, PhD

 Associate Professor, Human Geneticscharles-murtaugh.jpg

Deb Neklason, PhD

 Program Director, Utah Genome Project
 Associate Professor, Genetic Epidemiology

Randall Peterson, PhD

 Dean, College of Pharmacy

Aaron Quinlan, PhD

 Associate Professor, Human Genetics

Sean Tavtigian, PhD

 Professor, Oncological Sciences

Dave Viskochil, MD, PhD

Professor, Pediatrics

Corrine Welt, MD

 Professor, Endocrinology and Metabolism

H. Joseph Yost, PhD

 Professor, Neurobiology and Anatomy

Participation Information

Have a question? Find answers to common questions in our FAQ. We also encourage you to view previous Utah Genetic Reference Project (UGRP) newsletters, dated August 2019August 2020, and January 2022. Also download the answer key for the crossword listed in the January 2022 newsletter here.


The Utah Genome Project has nearly 100 publications on inherited disease. See all publications from the Utah Genome Project and Center for Genomic Medicine.