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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.


Should Babies Have Their Genomes Sequenced?by Anna NowogrodzkiMIT Technology ReviewJuly 2nd, 2015The BabySeq project in Boston has begun collecting data to quantify the risks and benefits of DNA sequencing at birth.
Ethics of Gene Editingby Betty RollinKQED Religion & Ethics NewsweeklyJuly 2nd, 2015Marcy Darnovsky, Executive Director of the Center for Genetics and Society, talks to KQED about the consequences of human germline gene editing for future generations.
Why the 'Devious Defecator' Case is a Landmark for US Genetic-Privacy Lawby Natasha GilbertNature NewsJune 25th, 2015A jury awarded $2.25 million to employees whose privacy was violated when their employer conducted genetic testing to determine fault in a job-site incident.
Can DNA Testing be Trusted? The Shockingly Imprecise Science of a Proven Courtroom Toolby Katie WorthFusionJune 24th, 2015Much DNA analysis involves interpretation. With interpretation comes subjectivity, and with subjectivity can come error.
6 Realities of Genomic Researchby Dan KoboldtMass GenomicsJune 19th, 2015Iím as excited about this as anyone (with the possible exception of Illumina). Even so, we should keep in mind that not everything is unicorns and rainbows when it comes to genomic research.
Ancient American Genome Rekindles Legal Rowby Ewen CallawayNature NewsJune 18th, 2015The finding seems likely to rekindle a legal dispute between Native American tribes and the researchers who want to keep studying the 8,500-year-old skeleton.
Down Syndrome Screening isnít About Public Health. Itís About Eliminating a Group of People.by Renate LindemanWashington PostJune 16th, 2015Testing should be used to enhance health and human well-being instead of discriminating against people based on their genetic predisposition.
Taking Control of Our Genetic Information: Could it Go Too Far?by Karthika MuthukumaraswamyThe Huffington PostJune 16th, 2015Up until recently, those in the technology industry and those conducting genomic research would have been considered strange bedfellows. But big data - more specifically, big genomic data - is bringing the two groups together.
Prenatal DNA Test Patent Invalid, U.S. Appeals Court Saysby Andrew ChungReutersJune 12th, 2015The appeals court said the DNA's presence in the blood fell under the U.S. Supreme Court's rule against patenting natural phenomena.
The De-Extincting Science in Jurassic World Is Right Around the Cornerby Maddie StoneGizmodoJune 10th, 2015The prospect of bringing back extinct creatures is looking a lot less science fictional.
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