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Cheaper by the individual

An individual’s entire genome can now be sequenced in just two months for less than US$1 million, according to research published in Nature this week. In a related ‘News & Views’ article, the achievement is described as “a technical tour de force that points towards routine use of whole-genome sequencing as a research tool in human genetics”.

Jonathon Rothberg and colleagues in the US used a new DNA-sequencing platform, known as ‘massively parallel sequencing’, to decipher the complete genetic code of James D. Watson — a co-discoverer of the double-helical structure of DNA. The technique amplifies DNA in a cell-free system and costs some 1% of that reported for sequencing by traditional techniques the genome of another famous geneticist, Craig Venter.

The work represents an important step in the quest to link ‘personalized genomes’ to ‘personalized medicine’ — that is, to identify genetic variation that may be associated with disease or predictive of response to medication.

Nature 452, 7189 table of contents

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