Researchers will now be able to interpret one human genome for less than $400, according to toolmaker Knome. The washing machine-sized knoSYS 100, which Knome unveiled last week (September 27), costs $125,000 and weighs in at 600 pounds. Knome, which was cofounded in 2007 by pioneering synthetic biologist George Church of Harvard University, has been generating vanity genomes for high-profile clients such as Ozzy Osbourne and analyzing human genome data sent in by researchers. Now, the knoSYS100 essentially puts Knome's analysis services in a box that genomic researchers can keep in their labs. "People need accurate interpretations that they have control over," Church told Forbes. "They don’t want to be forced to send stuff out. That’s an awful lot of data that’s quite sensitive."
The knoSYS 100 is also designed to help whittle down the mountains of genomic data researchers are generating as the cost and speed of sequencing plummets with each technological advance. The machine can handle next gen sequencing data from a variety of platforms and can create next generation "in silico genetic tests," rapid, software-based genetics experiments.
Other companies that offer solutions to interpreting human genomic data include DNANexus, which offers cloud-based genome analysis to customers, and Foundation Medicine, which focuses on cancer genomes. Many research institutions house bioinformatics centers that process genomic data generated by their scientists.