Two new DNA sequencing methods unveiled

August 9, 2005

Two newly developed methods of decoding DNA are expected to be substantially quicker and cheaper than the existing method.

Writing in the current issue of Science, Jay Shendure and George Church of the Harvard Medical School reported development of one system, while a Branford, Conn., company -- 454 Life Sciences -- recently announced a similar development.

The company said its invention is "100 times faster and cheaper than competing technology."

Each of the two new methods of DNA sequencing, if they work as promised, would put the equivalent of a $50 million genome-sequencing center on the desk of every researcher and physician, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

A major difference between the two new methods is price. The 454 Life Sciences DNA sequencing machine is being sold for $500,000, although the company says it does the work of a $50 million DNA sequencing center.

The Harvard machine uses "off-the-shelf instrumentation and reagents," and is even cheaper according to the researchers.

The first human genome to be completed cost approximately $800 million. But in the future, Church told the Times, the procedure might cost as little as $20,000.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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