Friday, February 6, 2009

Want your sequence?

New Scientist is reporting today that the cost of a complete genome sequence has dropped to a mere $5000. This announcement will lead to profound breakthroughs in genetics research - particularly in our understanding of the SNP's genomics scientists say will be necessary for use to design personalized therapies.

We will be able to know - for a relatively modest cost - the exact DNA sequences for thousands of disorders and diseases. Perhaps we will finally be able to understand the contribution of genetics to complex human behaviors.

In addition to complete genomic sequences, at least three more breakthroughs are necessary before we can take full advantage of our genetics:
  1. A computational breakthrough that can not only map the differences between genomes with billions of letters, but also cull out the significant differences in the coding sequences.
  2. A way to map epigenetic modification in genome-wide analysis. Carrying a gene is not enough, it must be expressed to contribute to a person's phenotype.
  3. A database of human disease that contains what is now considered to be private information for comparison to genetic information.
When mapping technology gets down into the $100's of dollars range, look for a push for large scale enrollment in a genetic disease database.

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