Friday, January 13, 2012

Table Top Gene Sequencing Machine Can Read Your DNA in a Day.

It can read your DNA in just 24 hours.
It seems like science fiction, but Life Technologies, has a table top sequencing machine for $100,000 to 150,000.  It does a whole human genome in a day.

Life Technologies sequencing chip. Note the tubes that deliver
The secret is a multi-parallel sequencing device. The press release text is pretty impenetrable, but they say it: "perform[s] direct, real-time measurement of the hydrogen ions produced during DNA replication. A high-density array of wells on the Ion semiconductor chips provides millions of individual reactors, and integrated fluidics allow reagents to flow over the sensor array.  This unique combination of fluidics, micromachining, and semiconductor technology enables the direct translation of genetic information (DNA) to digital information (DNA sequence), rapidly generating large quantities of high-quality data." Link

More recently Life Tech's archrival Illumina is suing them for patent enfringement on their analysis chip design.

Just eleven years ago, a collection of the scientists across the world worked to sequence the human genome the first time, and finished in 2003 after thirteen years. Just eight years later, we can do it in an day.

I remember how crazy it seemed when Star Trek NG's Dr Crusher put a few drops of blood in her "tricorder," and this little box sequenced it in a minute. Crazy because that would take a whole lab years, but now, it is not so crazy.