It cost $3 billion to sequence the human genome at the end of the project in 2003. Now, with advancements in technology - especially semiconductors - that cost is approaching the magic number of $1000.
Ion Torrent is a company at the head of this cheap genome effort. They use a unique chip with over a million sensors on it to simultaneously read about 1.2 million DNA molecules base by base. Added together using computer programs, you can assemble a whole genome this way.
They wrote this week about how this technology works in the journal Nature. Using a thousand $99 chips they sequenced a complete genome. Whose genome? Intel founder Gordon Moore, who famously (and appropriately, in this case) observed that the number of transistors on computer chips was doubling every 2 years.
Think he ever saw this coming?
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