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Technology and Health News > Tuesday, May-06-2008

Gene by gene



The entire genome of a person can now be sequenced in only four months and with less than one million dollars. To make "guinea pig" was James Watson

The moment in which we can know the gene for gene our identity is always near you: a new method developed by Jonathan Rothberg, the research firm American 454 Life Sciences, has enabled sequenziare the genome of a person in a very short time and with a significantly reduced cost compared to what is required by previous systems.

The genome sequenced in the new way is to James D. Watson, the famous discoverer, with Francis Crick, the molecular structure of DNA in 1953: This is the second human code entirely decifrato after that of Craig Venter, the scientist-entrepreneur who first, last September, made public l ' entire sequence of its genome. The new system, however, is a major step forward compared to the pioneering conquest of Venter, both in terms of timing and costs: to map the genome of Watson it took only four months and less than one million dollars (the system Venter had applied for some years and about one hundred million).



The study, published in Nature, shows the results of work done in the past year thanks to the technique of so-called "sequencing massive parallel", which made it possible to decipher so quickly and cost three billion pairs of nitrogen bases (4 letters of genetic code) that make up the genome of Watson. The data, delivered officially to the same Watson on a portable hard disk, are now viewed by anyone on the site jimwatsonsequence.

According to researchers, experimenting with this revolutionary method opens a new era of molecular biology: it could soon be possible for anyone to decipher his code

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