Well known for his research on CpG islands in DNA and on a biochemical process known as DNA methylation, this prominent British geneticist received, among other prestigious honors, the Gabor Medal; the Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine; and the GlaxoSmithKline Prize.
After earning an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from the University of Sussex, he received his doctorate from the University of Edinburgh and conducted additional research for Yale University, the University of Zurich, and the United Kingdom Medical Research Council.
He directed and helped establish Edinburgh, Scotland's Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology.
He was raised in Wolverhampton and Kidderminster, England. His marriage to geneticist Catherine Abbott produced four children.
He is a contemporary of fellow British geneticist Alec Jeffreys.