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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.


Is Most of Our DNA Garbage?by Carl ZimmerThe New York TimesMarch 5th, 2015Why does an onion carry around so much more genetic material than a human? The size of an animal’s or plant’s genome has essentially no relationship to its complexity, because a vast majority of its DNA is — to put it bluntly — junk.
State has DNA Databases from Cradle to Jailby Jeremy B. WhiteThe Sacramento BeeMarch 4th, 2015Soon after every baby in California is born, a hospital worker extracts and logs its genetic information. It will be tested for diseases and then stashed permanently in a warehouse containing a generation of Californians’ DNA.
Supreme Court Gives Tacit Approval for Government to Take Anybody’s DNAby David KravetsArs TechnicaMarch 2nd, 2015The Supreme Court has let stand the conviction of a rapist whose prosecution rested on DNA swiped from the armrests of an interrogation-room chair.
23andMe’s Dangerous Business Modelby Marcy DarnovskyThe New York TimesMarch 2nd, 2015Handing over reams of our genetic, health and personal information to companies like 23andMe – and paying them for the privilege – is far from the only path to scientific advance.
Why Racism is not Backed by Scienceby Adam RutherfordThe Guardian March 1st, 2015As we harvest ever more human genomes one fact remains unshakeable: race does not exist.
Anne Wojcicki’s Quest to Put People in Charge of Their Own Health[Quotes CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Stephanie LeeSan Francisco ChronicleFebruary 28th, 201523andMe has attracted nearly a million customers and more than $126 million in venture capital, but not everyone thinks it should be the one to collect their data.
The 23andMe Experience - A Lot of Knowledge is of Little Help?by Alison LashwoodBioNewsFebruary 23rd, 2015Those in favour see direct-to-consumer genetic tests as a way of engaging the public with science and making it fun, but there are problematic aspects, too.
US Regulators Try to Tame 'Wild West' of DNA Testingby Erika Check HaydenNature NewsFebruary 20th, 2015A particular sticking point is who decides what the genetic read-outs mean in terms of health and disease.
FDA Clearance of DTC Genetic Test Gets Mixed Reviewsby Ricki LewisMedscsape February 20th, 2015The FDA has authorized 23andMe to market a direct-to-consumer carrier test for Bloom syndrome.
Reading Our Genome is Tough, But Epigenetics is Giving Us Valuable Cluesby Marcus WooWiredFebruary 19th, 2015If the genome is a book, then the epigenome is like the post-it notes, dog-ears, and highlights that help you make sense of a particularly dense text.
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