In this season of giving, why not give the ultimate gift in self-knowledge: A whole genome scan--without being a research subject.
Big-name geneticists Jim Watson, co-discoverer of DNA, and J. Craig Venter have been fully sequenced. Now you can, too.
Cambridge, Mass.-based Knome is offering a complete peek at the genes (www.knome.com/Recent%20News/tabid/58420/Default.aspx)
According to Knome, "Whole-genome sequencing decodes the 6 billion bits of information that make up an individual’s genome. Unlike existing genome scanning or 'SNP chip' technologies that provide useful but limited information on approximately 20 conditions, whole-genome sequencing allows for the analysis of up to 2,000 common and rare conditions, and over 20,000 genes – numbers that are rapidly growing."
Jorge Conde, CEO of Knome, told EYE on DNA the advantage of Knome's approach over the competition: "We’re focusing on whole-genome sequencing now because we believe that this is the approach that will drive personal genomics forward. An advantage for us to being first is that, from inception, we’ve built our platform and services specifically around whole-genome applications. And because we’re initially focusing on a limited number of clients, we can provide first-in-class service – customized and personalized to each individual client."
We've been hearing a lot lately about the $1,000 genome, which would make scanning affordable for the mass audience.
Knome co-founder George Church, the Harvard and MIT geneticist, told Gen-erocity he is still moving ahead with the non-profit Personal Genome Project (PGP) (www.personalgenomes.org).
Church said "The PGP is alive. We are in the process of cautiously expanding to 100,000 volunteers." The two projects may dovetail.
Knome is starting off more modestly in size, but not in price.
Meanwhile, Knome is looking for 20 people to kick off this effort. This is definitely for people who have everything and want the ultimate in self-knowledge Watson- and Venter-style.
Church said: "The Knome price is $350K for >95% of the genome. The PGP is separate and has different goals -- a non-profit aiming at research correlating questionnaires on environment ad traits with sequence data on 1% of the genome. The hardware, software, wetware and human data develop in the PGP are intended to be “open access” for anyone (including companies) to see."
So don't be a holiday gnome. Knome knowledge is priceless.