A Repost – The $1,000 Genome, Part I

[This is a repost of an article that appeared on May 22, 2007. Since I’m knee-deep in final projects and exams, I thought I’d pull out a popular article from the archives. I hope you enjoy it (again)]:

Over the next week and a half I will be examining the Archon X PRIZE for Genomics, a challenge from the Archon X PRIZE Foundation to foster the development of efficient and inexpensive genomic sequencing. Not only will the X PRIZE for Genomics change the face of medicine, but it will also have an ENORMOUS impact on the field of genetic genealogy, which we’ll discuss in Part IV of the series. Stay tuned for all the information you need to know about the prize, and if you have any thoughts or questions please leave a comment!

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Knome – Another Personal Genome Sequencing Company Launches

 

On November 27th, the personal genome sequencing company Knome (pronounced like “Gnome”, the mythical creature) officially launched.From the company’s press release:

“‘Whole-genome sequencing is the endgame,’” according to Mr. Conde [Knome’s CEO]. ‘It will enable us to look at nearly 100% of your genetic code compared to the less than 0.02% currently available on SNP chips. This is the approach that most fully reveals what our genomes can tell us about ourselves.’”

“Pricing for Knome’s service will start at $350,000, including whole-genome sequencing and a comprehensive analysis from a team of leading geneticists, clinicians and bioinformaticians. This team will also provide continued support and counseling.”

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An Announcement from the E3b Project

I received an email from Denis Savard of the E3b Project, asking me to post the following for my readers. For the non-genetic genealogists, E3b is a Y-DNA Haplogroup (info here). The E3b Project was also ISOGG’s “DNA Project Website-of-the-Week” 14 Nov 2007.

Here’s the announcement:

Dear Readers,

The worldwide E3b Project proudly announces a new milestone: reaching the 700 member mark.

Since its launch this past June, the E3b project’s website (http://www.haplozone.net/e3b/project) has been steadily growing and is gradually being transformed into a dynamic place of learning, collaboration and research for all things related to E3b.

Here are some of the new developments from the last couple of months:

+ The new V-Series SNP tests have proven very popular among our E-M78 subclade participants and we have been very successful in further dissecting the E3b1a subclade into several distinct and finer branches. So far, about 70% of M78+ participants have also tested V13

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Poll Results – Are You Interested in Genomic Analysis?

In light of the launch of 23andMe and deCODEme, two genomic analysis companies, I recently asked whether or not my readers were interested in analysis of their own genome. The results suggest that of the people who voted, many were interested in the idea. The poll received a total of 51 votes, and I thank everyone who took a moment to cast their opinion (and I was very pleased with how well PollDaddy worked). Here are the results:

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It looks as though many people are interested in genomic analysis, and that a significant number have some concerns that must be addressed or resolved before they would consider it.

bbgm had a poll on his blog, with the results posted recently at “Your Personal Health: Readers Vote Yes“. Again, similar to my results, readers were interested in genomic analysis.

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You Can Now Buy a Genetic Test at Rite-Aid

It’s not a whole-genome scan or a genetic genealogy test, but it’s still a DNA test from the drug store shelves. Soon you will be able to purchase a paternity test from Rite-Aid.

The test is being offered by Sorenson Genomics. According to an article from Monday’s New York Times:

“A company called Sorenson Genomics has started selling a paternity test kit through Rite Aid stores in California, Oregon and Washington. It appears to be the first time a DNA test is being sold through a major pharmacy chain.”

“The test, sold under the brand name Identigene, has a suggested list price of $29.99, though a reporter purchased one at a Rite Aid in Santa Monica, Calif., for $19.99. There is an additional laboratory fee of $119 to have the samples analyzed.”

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New DNA Analysis of Native Americans

PLoS Genetics has a new paper (PLoS Genet 3(11): e185. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.0030185) that examines autosomal microsatellite markers (repeating units of base pairs) from Native American DNA:

“We examined genetic diversity and population structure in the American landmass using 678 autosomal microsatellite markers genotyped in 422 individuals representing 24 Native American populations sampled from North, Central, and South America. The Native American populations have lower genetic diversity and greater differentiation than populations from other continental regions. We observe gradients both of decreasing genetic diversity as a function of geographic distance from the Bering Strait and of decreasing genetic similarity to Siberians—signals of the southward dispersal of human populations from the northwestern tip of the Americas”

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AfricanDNA.com – A New Genetic Genealogy Company

Here’s the question: Do people really make “life-changing” decisions based upon the results of a genetic genealogy test?This phrase is often stated but is seldom supported with actual facts or case studies.And I’ve certainly never seen an estimated percentage of people who have made these types of “life-changing” decisions, which would really help further the discussion.

Earlier this month, Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. announced the launch of his new genetic genealogy company, AfricanDNA.com. According to the press release, “the precedent-setting site is the only company in the field of genetic genealogy that will provide African Americans with family tree research in addition to DNA testing.”

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Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell Spit For 23andMe

I’m sorry if I’ve overloaded you on the recent launches of 23andMe and deCODEme, but I think there’s so much to talk about. For a little lightheartedness, read “23andMe Party” from How to Change the World by Guy Kawasaki. Kawasaki describes a friends and family “Spit Party” hosted by 23andMe, and even has a number of pictures from the event.

The party offered attendees the chance to submit their DNA for analysis at a discounted rate. Some of the attendees included co-founders Linda Avey and Anne Wojcicki, at least one Nobel Prize winner, and celebrities Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell.

A Round-Up of Discussions Following the Launch of deCODEme and 23andMe

I have been accused of being a little too thorough sometimes.All things considered, that’s a flaw that I can live with.In the name of thorough, I offer the following review of recent online references to this weekend’s launch of personal genome analysis companies deCODEme and 23andMe.If you’re tired of hearing about the topic feel free to skip this post, but if you’re interested in the conversation that these launches have stimulated, read onward.

Kara Swisher at All Things Digital recently toured the new offices of 23andMe.The article – “Kara Visits 23andMe” – has a brief write-up and three videos.The first video is Ms. Swisher’s tour of the offices and includes an overview of the DNA collection kit and a brief interview with Linda Avey and Anne Wojcicki.The second and third videos are part of a longer interview with Avey and Wojcicki.

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