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Human genome expert to discuss DNA sequencing technologies May 2

Jeff Schloss, program director from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), will present a talk called “A Revolution in DNA Sequencing Technologies: Challenges and Opportunities” on Wed., May 2, at 2 p.m. in Stocker Center 103.

The initial sequencing of the human genome, completed in 2003, spurred an appetite for much more human sequence information to better understand the contributions of human sequence variation to health and disease. However, despite dramatic reductions since the beginning of the Human Genome Project – the cost was driven down by about three orders of magnitude during the 13 years it took to complete the project – the cost of sequencing was clearly too high to collect the very large numbers of human and numerous other organism genome sequences needed to achieve that understanding. 

In 2004, NHGRI launched parallel programs to reduce the cost of sequencing a mammalian genome initially by two (in five years), and eventually by four orders of magnitude (in ten years). At about $1,000 per complete genome sequence, very large (thousands of individuals) disease studies would become practical even for rare variation, and sequencing might become a practical tool for individualized medicine. 

Five years later, as a result of an intensive research and development endeavor stimulated by a modest investment by NIH and substantial investments by several companies worldwide, the initial goal of driving costs below $100,000 was achieved. Sequencing a human genome, which would have occupied 100 machines for three months in 2003, could be achieved on a single machine in about a month.  Further, the community is on a path to meet or exceed the next goal.

Schloss will summarize recent technologies that are in high-throughput use in labs worldwide to produce stunning amount of sequence and related data and novel biological insights. He will emphasize technologies that are currently emerging and those on the horizon.

The talk is sponsored by the Bioinformatics Distinguished Lecture series.

Questions? Lonnie Welch, welch@ohio.edu

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