For Just $1K, You'll Soon Be Able to Map Your Genes

Genomics company unveiling new machine today
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 10, 2012 9:13 AM CST
For Just $1K, You'll Soon Be Able to Map Your Genes
You may soon be able to map your genomes for $1,000.   (Shutterstock)

Want to map your genes, but don't have the $3,000 the cheapest sequencing currently costs? By the end of the year, you could be in luck: California genomics company Life Technologies Corp. will introduce a machine today that, by year's end, is expected to be able to map your entire genome for $1,000. Even better: The company says it will deliver results in one day, compared to the one week it currently takes, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Inspired by a 2004 National Human Genome Research Institute initiative, a group of companies has been competing to produce the first $1,000 gene map, which, for comparison's sake, is about how much an MRI costs. Experts say one's genetic code could be used to both prevent and treat illnesses: For instance, a person who learns he is at risk of suffering early-onset heart attacks could take preventative medicine or be more carefully monitored. But there's still some ground to cover: Says the director of the NHGRI, "We can sequence the genome for dirt cheap, but we don't know how to deal with the data. We've got to work on that." And on the very distant horizon? $100 gene maps. (More genome stories.)

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