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:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 03-26-2012
As hard as we try, we just can’t beat nature at creating efficient and amazing technologies.
In a fascinating feat of science, University of Washington scientists have created a tiny, nanoscale DNA sequencer that is capable of sequencing DNA strands of 42 to 53 nucleotides at a reasonable rate and at a fraction of the cost of conventional sequencing.
The biological sequencer consists of a mycobacterium nanopore placed in a membrane and surrounded by potassium-chloride solution. The DNA strand is pulled through the nanopore by phi29 DNA polymerase, an enzyme associated with replication of the phi29 virus. As the nucleotides pass through the nanopore, a small voltage is applied to create an ion current flowing through the nanopore whose electrical signature changes depending on the type of nucleotide traveling through the nanopore.
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 02-21-2011
The latest information coming out of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) indicates that the cost of sequencing one megabase of DNA has dropped by more than 16,500-fold over the last decade while the cost of sequencing a genome has dropped by 3,274-fold over the same period. That’s mind-blowing stuff!!!
According to the the NHGRI, it cost $5,292.39 to sequence 1 MB in September 2001 while is only cost $0.32 to sequence 1 MB as of October 2010.
image courtesy of the NHGRI-click for larger image
The data also shows that the cost of sequencing a genome dropped from $95,263,072 to $29,092 in the same time period.
image courtesy of NHGRI-click to enlarge
What is most amazing about the above graphs is that they illustrate how next-generation sequencing technology has completely outpaced Moore’s law which dictates that technological advances double every two years. In these graphs you can clearly see how sequencing technology followed Moore’s law until January 2008 at which point is suddenly divereged from the expected trend and advanced at break-neck speeds.
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 07-14-2010
The folks at The Scientist are running a contest for readers to vote for their favorite videos and websites. Browsing through the videos on The Scientist Labbies, Readers’ Choice site (be sure to watch the videos and vote for your favorite) I came across a visually stunning animation by the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI).
The DOE JGI unites the expertise of five national laboratories to advance genomics in support of the DOE missions related to clean energy generation and environmental characterization and cleanup. JGI’s Walnut Creek, California, facility provides integrated high-throughput sequencing and computational analysis that enable systems-based scientific approaches to these challenges.
Scientists affiliated with JGI are prolific publishers of scientific articles and industrious contributors to Genbank.
Check out this mesmerizing video (the graphics are great thanks to recent graduates and staff at the Ex’pression College for Digital Arts) to learn more about JGI’s mission.