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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.


Obama Precision Medicine Plan Would Create Huge U.S. Genetic Biobankby Jocelyn KaiserScience InsiderJanuary 29th, 2015The proposed precision medicine initiative would center on a huge new biobank containing medical records and genetic information for perhaps a million Americans.
‘Moonshot’ Medicine Will Let Us Downby Michael J. JoynerThe New York TimesJanuary 29th, 2015President Obama's new budget is expected to include hundreds of millions of dollars for so-called precision medicine. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to make most of us healthier.
Myriad Genetics Ending Patent Dispute on Breast Cancer Risk Testingby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesJanuary 27th, 2015The company has settled or is in the process of settling patent-infringement lawsuits it filed against other companies that now offer such testing.
Genetic Testing and Tribal Identityby Rose EvelethThe AtlanticJanuary 26th, 2015The question of genetic testing, and particularly genetic testing to determine ancestral origins, is controversial for many Native Americans.
Privacy is dead, Harvard professors tell Davos forumAgence France PresseJanuary 22nd, 2015"We are at the dawn of the age of genetic McCarthyism," said one Harvard researcher.
US Precision-Medicine Proposal Sparks Questionsby Sara ReardonNatureJanuary 22nd, 2015President Obama announced a "Precision Medicine Initiative" in his State of the Union address, but the White House is remaining tight-lipped about the details.
After Canada, UK, 23andMe Wants DNA Test Growth Abroadby Caroline Humer and Christina FarrReutersJanuary 15th, 2015The company, whose consumer-directed tests were barred by U.S. health regulators in 2013, said Western Europe is one focus for expansion.
Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Tests Should Come With a Health Warningby Jessica CussinsThe Pharmaceutical JournalJanuary 15th, 2015Genetic testing is appropriate in certain situations, but for healthy people as a way to predict disease, it is imprecise and comes with a number of risks.
Deals For Genetic Data Raise Issues of Privacy, Sharingby John Lauerman and Makiko KitamuraBloombergJanuary 14th, 2015Big Pharma is making deals to use the personal genetic data accumulated by direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies and others.
23andMe Turns Spit Into Dollars in Deal With Pfizerby Caroline ChenBloombergJanuary 12th, 2015The genetic-testing company backed by Google is sharing DNA data on about 650,000 individuals with Pfizer, the U.S.’s largest drugmaker.
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