Antoine Danchin

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Antoine Danchin PhD DSc is the director of the Department Genomes and Genetics at the Institut Pasteur in Paris where he heads the Genetics of Bacterial Genomes Unit. He is a world authority in the study of microbial genomes.

Initially trained as a mathematician and physicist, working first with Mildred Cohn and Ionel Solomon, Danchin became an experimental microbiologist in the early seventies. Interested in University training he created, with Maurice Guéron, the first semester of Biology at the Ecole Polytechnique, and developed his teaching during four years. Among his first students one can find Daniel Kahn, Patrick Charnay, and many others. The main goal of his research has always been to try and understand how genes can function collectively in the cell. Danchin started in 1985 a collaboration with computer scientists for evaluation of artificial intelligence techniques to the study of integrated problems in molecular genetics. This convinced him that it was time to investigate genomes as wholes, provided that an important effort in computer sciences was initiated in parallel. Early in 1987 he proposed that a sequencing program should be undertaken for Bacillus subtilis. This proposal was actualized by an European joint effort on this genome, starting in 1988. The complete sequence has been published in 1997. The first significant and unexpected discovery of this work was, in 1991, that many genes (at that time half of the genes) were of completely unknown function. This led him to try and organise bioinformatics in France with the help of several colleagues at Universities, CNRS and INRIA, through the creation of a nation-wide group, GDR 1029 (1991-1995) and subsequently through the coordination of the bioinformatics programme of the Groupement de Recherche et d'Etudes des Genomes (1992-1996), then at the Comité de Coordination des Sciences du Vivant (1998-2000).


  • The calmodulin-sensitive adenylate cyclase of Bordetella pertussis: cloning and expression in Escherichia coli P Glaser, D Ladant, O Sezer, F Pichot, A Ullmann, A Danchin

Mol Microbiol (1988) 2: 19-30

  • Secretion of cyclolysin, the calmodulin-sensitive adenylate cyclase-haemolysin bifunctional protein of Bordetella pertussis P Glaser, H Sakamoto, J Bellalou, A Ullmann, A Danchin

EMBO J (1988) 7: 3997-4004

  • Cloning and expression of mouse-brain calmodulin as an activator of Bordetella pertussis adenylate cyclase in Escherichia coli. A Danchin, O Sezer, P Glaser, P Chalon, D Caput

Gene (1989) 80: 145-149