June 10, 2009

Your own DNA on your iPhone?

Filed under: DNA,Illumina,iPhone,iPhone app,Uncategorized — drwatson @ 5:26 pm

Want your DNA sequenced? Well now it will only put you back about $48,000, incredibly this is half of what it used to cost you.

This service is being offered by a San Diego biotechnology company call Illumina. The whole process of even getting your DNA is quite the ordeal. First you must sit down with a physician and get a prescription. You must wait for a specific amount of time to go by; this is most likely to allow you to think, “Hmm, do I really need to be spending $48,000 to get my DNA sequenced?”If you do come to the conclusion that you have quite a substantial amount of cash to burn, then you will receive an Apple computer that is loaded with your DNA sequence and the software for reading it. The computer, which luckily you get to keep, will have all 3 billion DNA letters that make your genome encoded.

CEO of Illumina, Jay Flatley, went on to say, “We thought it was important to get on this track. Starting now is going to improve any of the kinks in this system.” But why would a company want to develop something that currently is unable to be marketed to a vast amount of people? The better question is why do MANY companies want to create their own DNA sequencing software?

Harvard University researcher and co-founder of Knome (Another company that does DNA sequencing, however for $99,000), George Church may have the answer. “It’s like the early days of cell phones. You wanted to get out there and get lots of geographical territory, no matter what it took.”

Many companies now seem to be preparing for the no-so-distant future that may include a significantly cheaper cost for DNA sequencing, and when DNA sequencing becomes very widely used in the field of medicine.

Flatley has a mash up of software on his iPhone that may one day allow somebody like me and you to look at our DNA. This specific software belongs completely to Illumina, and he says, “It’s a hint of where we think things are going.” Soon everyone may be walking around with their own sequenced DNA on their phones, technology; you’ve got to love it.

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