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A cheap personal genome?

Optimism and doubts expressed at discussion of $1,000 genome.

Leslie Pray(lpray@nasw.org)

BOSTON — Step right up and have your genome sequenced in a single afternoon. Or, why wait all afternoon? How about having it done within minutes – better yet, seconds? Such was the tone of predictions made during a panel discussion titled "The Future of Sequencing Technology: Advancing Toward the $1,000 Genome," held Wednesday evening, October 2, at the 14th International Genome Sequencing and Analysis Conference.

Not all of the speakers promised such fast turnaround times, but Susan Hardin of Houston, Texas based VisiGen Biotechnologies forecast that in two to four years her company will have developed the technology to sequence an entire human genome within a couple minutes. Not to be outdone, Eugene Chen told the audience that US Genomics' goal "is to be able to read your genome instantaneously," and that he expects the technology to make it possible to be up and running in about three...

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