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About Sequencing & Genomics


An organism's genome refers to all the hereditary information encoded in its genes. Sequencing a complete genome, a gene, or a fragment of genetic material involves determining the order of its sub-units: adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine.

Scientists are using individuals' genetic sequences to map and catalog human genetic variation in order to improve understanding of human biology, disease susceptibility, and drug response. As costs falls rapidly, the scale and speed of gene sequencing is increasing. The Human Genome Project required thirteen years and $3 billion to sequence the first complete, general human genome. Subsequent projects, such as the International HapMap Project, examined genetic variation between population groups, raising concerns of giving undue biological significance to social categories of race.

Now, the sequencing of complete genomes of specific individuals is becoming almost routine. For example, the Personal Genome Project plans to sequence 100,000 genomes.

Lower prices have also opened the door to companies that offer personal, direct-to-consumer genetic tests.


U.S. health groups worried genetic test could displace Pap smear by Matthew PerroneThe Associated Press April 15th, 2014Women's groups warn that moving to a DNA-based testing model would be a "radical shift" in medical practice that could lead to confusion, higher costs and overtreatment.
How I Hacked My Best Friend’s Genome — And Could Hack Yours Tooby Sharon MoalemMediumApril 15th, 2014You just never know when someone may want to hack your genome.
Weighing the Scales on Genetic Informationby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesApril 15th, 2014More people are choosing not to know what’s in their genome and more people are sharing the complexities and challenges of knowing. How can their choices and experiences inform policy?
Guarantee Privacy to Ensure Proper Treatmentby Jeremy GruberThe New York Times, Room for DebateApril 14th, 2014As more and more of this personal information becomes public knowledge, it can be bought and sold by any commercial interests interested in predictive information about an individual's future health status.
Human Rights Body Warns Over Mass DNA Screeningby Elaine EdwardsThe Irish TimesApril 11th, 2014A Government proposal which would allow the taking of DNA samples for “mass screening” of certain “classes” of individuals should be prohibited, Ireland's national human rights watchdog has said.
Stocking the Genetic Supermarket: Reproductive Genetic Technologies and Collective Action Problemsby Chris Gyngell and Thomas DouglasWiley Online LibraryApril 10th, 2014Reproductive genetic technologies targeting non-medical traits could lead to collective action problems. Does this risk justify state intervention in the genetic supermarket?
Pharma to fork: How we'll swallow synthetic biologyby Colin BarrasNew ScientistApril 10th, 2014Our best antimalarial drug comes from a plant, but now modified microbes are brewing it in a factory. Synthetic biology has got real – and food may be next.
Meet your unborn child – before it's even conceived[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Catherine de LangeNew ScientistApril 9th, 2014A service that creates digital embryos by virtually mixing two people's DNA will allow parents to screen out genetic disorders – and perhaps much more.
Fetal Abnormalities: The Next Minefield in the Abortion Wars?by Amelia Thomson-DeveauxThe American ProspectApril 9th, 2014Conscience clauses are just the beginning—genetic counselors are on a collision course with state-level abortion politics.
DNA Dreamsby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesApril 9th, 2014The documentary film that explores the inner workings of BGI Shenzhen, “the world’s largest genomics organization,” is now available in full on YouTube.
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