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A team of three people, led by a Stanford professor, sequenced an entire human genome in one week

A Stanford University professor claims to have sequenced his entire genome using a team of two other people for less than $50,000, which would be an impressive feat considering just last year it took 250 people and $250,000.

"This is the first demonstration that you don't need a genome center to sequence a human genome," Stanford University Bioengineering professor Stephen Quake, PhD, said in a statement.  "It's really democratizing the fruits of the genome revolution and saying that anybody can play in this game."

Dr. Quake's Heliscope Single Molecule Sequencer is revolutionary since companies and genome sequencing researchers often have large staffs, huge budgets, and hundreds of machines at their disposal.  The Heliscope Single Molecule Sequencer has the functionality to sequence a person's human genome in one month and relies on a three-person staff.

This can now be done in one lab, with one machine, at a modest cost,” Quake also said in an interview.  “It’s going to unleash an enormous amount of creativity and really broaden the field.”

To put it into perspective of how difficult and expensive it is to sequence DNA, only seven human genomes have been confirmed as fully sequenced.  Dr. Quake's genome is now available to researchers, with other researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine now analyzing the data and asking Quake questions.

Researchers are looking ahead to the future, as Dr. Quake believes it should only be two or three years until the $1,000 genome goal is possible.  If genome sequencing is $1,500 or less, it's possible it could become a normal part of medical routine, used as a tool to help understand diseases and genetic abnormalities.

It's believed better understanding human DNA will offer an insight into the genetic roots of cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes, or other major life threatening issues facing humans.  It could one day be possible to create personalized medicine custom created for people using genome sequencing, though researchers are unsure when this could be done.





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