December 21, 2010
Chip To Sequence Genome In Minutes?

A small chip will some day sequence your entire genetic sequence in minutes. Of course, small and fast also means very cheap too.

Scientists from Imperial College London are developing technology that could ultimately sequence a personís genome in mere minutes, at a fraction of the cost of current commercial techniques.

Couples on dates or sizing up each other in bars will some day surreptitiously take DNA samples of each other and do sequencing to find out if their romantic interest has desired attributes. How smart? How likely to be faithful? How driven? Genetic sequences will provide clues.

The researchers have patented an early prototype technology that they believe could lead to an ultrafast commercial DNA sequencing tool within ten years. Their work is described in a study published this month in the journal Nano Letters and it is supported by the Wellcome Trust Translational Award and the Corrigan Foundation.

The research suggests that scientists could eventually sequence an entire genome in a single lab procedure, whereas at present it can only be sequenced after being broken into pieces in a highly complex and time-consuming process.

With the prices dropping I expect most of us will know at least some of our our genetic differences from genetic testing in the next 5 years. Right now 23andMe is running a DNA testing sale of $99. It strike me that this would make a novel Christmas gift. Got to see if a certain family member wants this as a gift.

In the 10-15 year time line full genome sequencing will become common. I'll be surprised if most of us do not know our our full genome sequence by 2025. Costs are falling so rapidly that 15 years seems sufficient to make genome sequencing very cheap.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2010 December 21 12:38 AM  Biotech Assay Services

Engineer Dad said at December 21, 2010 9:33 PM:

Actually 23andMe was giving it away for free this morning for a limited time, with certain restrictions (i.e all grandparents must be the same ethnicity)

This doesn't help me since I purchased the $99 + 1 year subscription on Sunday.

Engineer Dad said at December 21, 2010 9:56 PM:

My mistake, it was the Dodecad Ancestry Project accepting 23andMe data for free analysis, sorry.

David Gobel said at December 24, 2010 1:54 PM:

I did the 23andMe thing, and discovered to my surprise that my ancestry on my Father's side originates from Tunguska Siberia. I then looked at images of natives from that area, and sure enough, there is more than a passing resemblance. This info will not help me balance my checkbook, but I do find it personally compelling.

David Gobel said at December 24, 2010 1:55 PM:

It may also explain my tendency to add weight in the winter :-)

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