Computing in the Age of the $1,000 Genome: Some Themes and Some Photos

10/25/11Follow @xconomy

Scientists will soon be able to obtain the full 6 billion letter string of DNA that makes us who we are for $1,000, and the cost might drop all the way to $100 or less. Probably 1 billion people will get their DNA sequenced when prices go that low.

It’s a big opportunity with big hurdles that will have to be overcome. There are technical problems (software and storage) scientific cultural challenges (data sharing), and ethical challenges (consumer privacy) that have to be solved before the data’s potential for changing health and medicine can be realized. There’s plenty of caution among regulators and insurers, who are wondering what to do with this coming mountain of DNA data.

These were some of the themes that came up yesterday at our big event in San Francisco, “Computing in the Age of the $1,000 Genome.” As Ashley Dombkowksi, the chief business officer of 23andMe put it succinctly, “It’s not about the $1,000 genome or $100 genome. It’s the million-dollar interpret-ome. That’s where real value is.” Of course, no one has gotten there yet. You can read some of the other quotes by searching on the Twitter hashtag for this event, #1kGenome.

I’d like to thank all the speakers and attendees who made this event a big success. That includes the event host, QB3, and the event sponsors: Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Complete Genomics, Fenwick & West, and Silicon Valley Bank. We’d also like to thank the underwriters of Xconomy San Francisco who provide long-term support for our work: Alexandria Real Estate Equities, AMRI, Fenwick & West, Goodwin Procter, J. Robert Scott Executive Search, the Kauffman Foundation, Latham & Watkins, Morrison Foerster Cleantech Group, Silicon Valley Bank, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science & Technology Directorate.

My colleague Wade Roush snapped a bunch of photos of the action, and you can see a few of them below in thumbnail images. For a larger image, just click on the thumbnail. We’ll have more photos to post on the site later in the week. And at the pace genomics is moving, we’ll definitely have a lot more to write about here for the weeks and months ahead.

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Computing in the Age of the $1,000 Genome – Cliff Reid of Complete Genomics
photo by Wade Roush

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