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Premium genome mapping service: Knome

Work & Lifestyle

Personal gene sequencing may be just beginning to make its way into the mainstream commercial world (see our post on Genome mapping services, as well as DNA-driven dating, which we just covered), but it’s already getting upgraded. Witness Knome, which is offering whole-genome mapping for USD 350,000. Launched in November, Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Knome is offering just 20 individuals the opportunity to participate in its debut by having their entire genomes sequenced. Whereas the contenders we’ve already written about have focused on sequencing just key parts of the human genome for anywhere between USD 985 and USD 2,500, Knome will map out and analyse the entire thing–something only two people have had done before. That means decoding the 6 billion bits of information that make up an individual’s genome, and the result is a comprehensive view of more than 20,000 genes and insight into the individual’s risk of developing up to 2,000 common and rare conditions. Knome’s price also includes a thorough analysis and continued support by a team of geneticists, clinicians and bioinformaticians. Clients will retain full ownership of their personal genome and have the ability to anonymously share all or portions of it with researchers and other medical professionals. Dr. George Church, PhD, a cofounder of the firm and professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School, explains: “In 2003, the Human Genome Project completed a 12-year effort to sequence the first human genome at a cost of USD 3 billion. Only very recently have costs come down to a level where it is now feasible for private individuals to be sequenced and analyzed. We expect this evolution to quickly usher in a new era in personalized medicine.” Need we say more? As this type of service becomes more commonplace, there will be plenty of demand for medical consultants who can put it all in perspective. Something tells us there may be a whole new market for medical lawyers as well… Spotted by: Bjarke Svendsen



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