The effort to decipher the 3-billion-letter human genome is one of the biggest stories in the history of science. As well as revolutionising medicine, a clear understanding of genetics will also bring profound social and environmental implications. Examples include: personalised treatments to cure cancer and other degenerative diseases, crop solutions for the eradication of famine, and synthetic biological tools to help us solve the energy crisis.


One way to try and determine the genetic functionality of an organism is by genetic sequencing and comparison. Much can be determined by reading an organism’s genome sequence and comparing it with that of another, or by comparing the sequence of an individual’s healthy cell with that of a cancerous cell. However, because there are so many variables at play, the results are complicated to translate. Furthermore, gene sequencing is time consuming and expensive.


Another approach is by experimentation. Genetic experimentation on humans is, for the most part, illegal and so biological ‘models’ are commonly used. For example, monkeys, rabbits, mice or fruit flies are commonly used as test organisms. However, since all living things have been shown to have evolved from the same genetic source material, other much simpler organisms exist which are known to have a considerable number of genes which are identical to those in humans. One such organism is yeast.


Yeast is a member of the fungi family, and has been used by man for millennia in both brewing and bread making. Remarkably, it shares about a quarter of its 6000 genes with those from human cells. Since this single-cellular organism is much older in evolutionary terms than humans, it can be assumed that the shared genes are fundamental to cell health. Yeast reproduces in a matter of hours and can do so both sexually and asexually. Most yeasts are not pathogenic and so are not dangerous to use. It’s cheap to work with, yeast colonies are small and many experiments can easily be conducted in a controlled fashion on standard Petri dishes. For these reasons, yeast has become a very powerful and popular model organism for study. In fact, yeast was fully sequenced before the human genome and more is known about the function of yeast genes than any other organism.


The CSF intends to raise funds, mainly by donations through the website, and promote yeast genetics by sponsoring students, conferences and workshops around the world.

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The objects of the CSF are to advance the education of the public in general (and particularly among scientists) on the subject of yeast genetics and to promote research for the public benefit in all aspects of that subject and to publish the useful results.



Read the full CSF constitution here.

UMass Medical School

UMass Medical School

University of Massachusetts Medical School, in particular the Rhind Lab have given very generously to the Carl Singer Foundation. For that we thank them very much. To find out more about UMassMed visit For more information on the Rhind Lab click below.



University College London, specifically the Bahler lab, have given very generously to the Carl Singer Foundation. For that we thank them very much. To find out more about UCL visit For more information on the Bahler Lab click below.



The Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers have donated very generously to the Carl Singer Foundation. For that we thank them very much. The WCSIM promotes the craft of scientific instrument making and the exchange of ideas and information by members and guests through meetings, visits, lectures and social events. To find out more click on the link below.

Thanks to our generous supporters

© 2014 The Carl Singer Foundation. Proudly created by the power of yeast!