* Cheap sequencing can help find genetic causes of disease
* Scientists still working on meaning of genetic code
WASHINGTON Nov 5 Want to know your entire DNA
sequence? A California company has done it for as little as
Privately held Complete Genomics says it can do a better
quality, usable genome map for about $4,400 -- compared with
the $100 million the Human Genome Project spent to complete the
first sequencing of the human genome in 2000.
"Whole-genome sequencing costs have dropped from the more
than $100 million cost of the first human genomes to the point
where individual labs have generated genome sequences in a
matter of months for material costs of as low as $48,000," the
company's Radoje Drmanac and colleagues reported in the journal
"This high-quality, cost-effective approach to genome
sequencing will allow researchers to study complete genomes
from hundreds of patients with a disease to advance the
understanding of the genetic causes of that disease, with an
end to preventing and treating common human ailments," said
Cliff Reid, chief executive officer of Complete Genomics.
Two of the people whose DNA was mapped had taken part in an
international sequencing project called the International
HapMap project -- a man of European descent and a Yoruban
The third came from a white man taking part in the Personal
Genome Project, an online registry in which people are asked to
donate both their DNA and a little money.
Genome sequencing is still early stage science. While
researchers can get the code, figuring out what it means is a
Genomics pioneer Craig Venter had his own genome sequenced
-- at a cost of "several million" dollars -- and found the
analysis could only show he was likely to have blue eyes, for
instance. Venter does have blue eyes.
Last month Pauline Ng of the J. Craig Venter Institute in
San Diego and Sarah Murray of Scripps Translational Science
Institute in La Jolla, California, tested kits provided by
California-based firms Navigenics Inc, a private company, and
23andMe, backed by Google Inc (GOOG.O).
They found they varied in predicting disease risk.
Complete Genomics and The Institute for Systems Biology
said earlier this week they plan to sequence the genomes of 100
people to try and find insights into Huntington's disease.
Scientists also use a technique called genome-wide
association to try to find genes that no one suspected were
involved in various diseases.
(Reporting by Maggie Fox; Editing by Eric Walsh)