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DNA genome sequencing steadily continues to improve

Written By Sansation on Thursday, 21 February 2013 | 07:28

Handheld and portable DNA
genome sequencer

Although we are dealing with an economic crisis, the DNA genome sequencing industry continues to grow in rapid pace. After the Human Genome Project concluded in 2003, the potential for personalized medicine began to be realized. It had taken close to fifteen years and billions of Euro's to identify and map all 3,3 billion base pairs in the human genome. However, the methods used to achieve this had begun to improve exponentially, at a rate even faster than Moore's Law seen in computer chips. From 2008 inwards  the cost per genome was going down very fast. By 2013, it was possible to sequence an entire human genome for less than a hundred Euro's.

And the next few years bring even greater advances. One big trend in recent years has been the increasing portability of DNA genomes analyzing devices. These are becoming so sophisticated that they can provide results in a matter of seconds, at negligible costs. Handheld DNA genome sequencers have a wide range of practical applications such as their use by law enforcement officers (police) at crime scenes, to analyse biological evidence without the need to to send it to the forensic  lab, saving time and money. Aid workers in developing countries or disaster hit areas can identify viruses and verify water quality. Food inspectors can check for harmful pathogens in restaurants. Wildlife biologists can study genes in the field. And maybe the most widespread use of DNA genome sequencing is now among the general public, who can utilize it for a small fraction of what it would cost in previously. Just like the Internet seemed to appear out of the blue in the mid-90's of the last century, personal DNA genomic devices are going to explode into the mainstream in.
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