The first human genome sequence took 13 years and cost $3 billion — now, less than a decade later, a new company promises to sequence a full genome in 15 minutes for a song. If this exponential increase in efficiency and drop in price sounds like something out of the computing industry, that's because it is. Multicore processors and customizable clusters are coming to gene sequencing, threatening to disrupt one of the most important industries in modern medicine.
Proponents of genetic medicine say DNA sequencing is the future of medicine and that soon every truly sick person will have his or her genome sequenced. Critics cite privacy concerns and note that genetic mutations and variations don’t necessarily lead to medical outcomes. Whatever the position, it’s hard to argue that this isn’t good news: the first child – plagued by undiagnosable illness – has been saved by DNA sequencing.
"DNA Sudoku," a new genetic sequencing technique inspired by the popular puzzle, could reduce both time and costs in DNA sequencing in the near future, ultimately contributing to the prevention of diseases in whole populations.
No doubt you have it on your calendars, but in case you forgot, the 25th is National DNA Day. Can't think how to celebrate it? Well, if you have $68,000 or more lying around, you can bid for a chance to have your entire personal genome sequenced by Knome, a company that does such things.
Long gone are the days when woolly mammoths roamed the icy North American and Eurasian turf 10,000 years ago. But in the labs of Penn State University they have been resurrected—well, almost.
While you won't see a shaggy, 12-feet-tall mammoth brought back from the dead any time soon (unlike the 16-year-old frozen mice earlier this month), scientists at Penn State are the first to decode almost the entire DNA set of the now extinct species of elephant.