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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.


Giant study poses DNA data-sharing dilemmaby Sara ReardonNature NewsSeptember 1st, 2015As the US Precision Medicine Initiative pushes forward, whether to provide sequenced genetic information to biobank donors is an unresolved question of ethics, privacy, and medical utility.
CRISPR: The Latest Biotech Hypeby Anne Fausto-SterlingBoston ReviewAugust 24th, 2015What began with an attempt to build a better yogurt now has journalists speculating about Brave New World scenarios, but the bio-hype relies on a false model of genetic determinism.
How Beliefs in Biological Differences Can Undergird Racial and Policy Attitudesby Carson ByrdUSAPPAugust 24th, 2015New study shows how racialized perceptions of the influence of genes and the environment on individuals can affect public support for policies aimed at mitigating racial inequality.
The Risks of Turning Races Into Genes by Matthew W. HugheyThe Huffington PostAugust 20th, 2015"Race" is man-made, and much of the scientific enterprise has traditionally supported the myth that racial differences accurately represent real, biological differences among humans.
Inside Illumina’s Plans to Lure Consumers with an App Store for Genomes by Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewAugust 19th, 2015The head of the largest gene-sequencing company envisions holding your DNA, then selling it to you little by little.
B.C. Company to Launch DNA Testing Service by Pamela FayermanVancouver SunAugust 19th, 2015Scrutiny by government and College of Physicians and Surgeons being considered.
‘Scientific Ambitions Behind DNA Profiling Bill’by Vidya VenkatThe HinduAugust 16th, 2015Legal researcher Usha Ramanathan speaks about the the modified draft Bill which continues to raise several critical concerns relating to privacy, ethical usage of DNA samples and DNA database.
Cold Caseby Anne Fausto-SterlingBoston ReviewAugust 11th, 2015Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg likes to make faces. But she doesn’t paint or sculpt them, precisely. She doesn’t even decide what they look like.
Four Problems with the DNA Databaseby Sharon FernandesTimes of IndiaAugust 2nd, 2015India's Human DNA Profiling Bill 2015 proposes to set up a national DNA database of criminals that will include rapists, murderers and kidnappers.
Slipping Into Eugenics? Nathaniel Comfort on the History Behind CRISPRby Elliot HosmanBiopolitical TimesJuly 23rd, 2015A historian unravels the social and political context of genetic research and eugenics in the United States.
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