A Trillion Reasons to Care About Genomics

July 02 2008 / by juldrich / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Biotechnology   Year: General   Rating: 11 Hot

By Jack Uldrich

Cross-posted from www.jumpthecurve.net

I speak to a great many student groups and I am often struck by how few of them appreciate the difference between one million, one billion and one trillion. (In the name of fairness, the same is true of many adults). Perhaps, it is because the three figures are all large numbers that most people don’t think there is an appreciable difference. Perhaps, it is because the words – million, billion, and trillion – the rhyme; or maybe it’s just because they’re dumb—or have had poor teachers. I really don’t know.

One way I have tried to convey the difference between the numbers is by explaining the figures in a different way. To wit:

One million seconds was 12 days ago; One billion seconds was roughly 30 years ago; One trillion seconds was approximately 30,000 years ago – 28,000 B.C.!

My point with the analogy is that one trillion of anything is a really BIG number, and it is much, much different than one billion. This analogy is important because on January 17, 2006 the Wellcome Sanger Institute announced it had archived it’s one billionth DNA sequence. It was an impressive accomplishment.

Well, today, Wired magazine reported that the prominent genetics institute sequenced its trillionth base of DNA. This is a one thousand-fold improvement in just over two years. (cont.)

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Personal Genomics In Our Future

March 26 2008 / by Venessa Posavec / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: 2011   Rating: 10

As genome sequencing costs continue to fall, the personal genomics industry may soon blossom. It could be as soon as next year. I’m hopeful for that, at least, after reading a post on Brian Wang’s blog, Next Big Future. He gave a nice succinct overview of what’s going on in the field, and how quickly it may become affordable for many people.

In order to really be viable as a supplemental health service, the magic price point for a full genome sequencing is said to be $1,000. Here’s a quick breakdown of how drastically the time and money needed to produce that data has been minimized already, thanks to the accelerating rate of computing power and technological progress:

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