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NGS Leaders Blog

23andMe Offers the $1,000 Exome

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Davies_pic September 29, 2011  

Kevin Davies :  Ever since its launch in 2007, the personal genomics company 23andMe co-founders Anne Wojcicki and Linda Avey made no secret of their plans to offer their clients access to their individual genome sequence once the technology matured and the price dropped sufficiently.

A significant step came earlier this week, when 23andMe announced it would soon begin offering a $999 exome sequencing service, first come first served. The exome is just a small percentage of one’s total genome sequence, but it’s still a major leap forward for a company that has only offered genotyping until now.
23andMe Exome 80x 

23andMe isn’t trumpeting the news as much as one might have expected, in part because this information will be overkill to a large majority of 23andMe’s 100,000 (and counting) customers. As the company notes:

“The exome sequencing pilot is the first of its kind, and it is suitable for customers who are comfortable managing and understanding raw genetic data. If you don't know your exons from your introns, this pilot is probably not for you. This is for early adopters and supplies are limited.”

The company adds: “You'll be a trailblazer, one of the first people on the planet to know their personal exome sequence!”

23andMe anticipates taking its first orders soon.

The Next Hot Commodity of Genome Sequences

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Davies_pic September 22, 2011  

Kevin Davies :  At the outset, I should point out that one of the corporate partners that helped launch and support NGS Leaders is a Massachusetts software company called GenomeQuest. To their immense credit, the management team at GQ has stayed in the background and refrained from blogging or otherwise touting its services on this site.

However, having just stumbled upon a video of GenomeQuest CEO Richard Resnick presenting at the TEDx conference in Boston a couple of months ago, I cannot resist sharing it here.

Goodness knows it is hard to do justice to the excitement of a field as dynamic as NGS in a mere ten minutes, let alone communicate that to a broad audience, and do so with dollops of humor and panache. But Resnick manages to do all of those things.

You would be hard-pressed to find a better introduction to the growth and potential of NGS than right here...


Your Genome: Going…Going…Gone!

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Davies_pic September 13, 2011  

Kevin Davies :  Former VP Dick Cheney and the queen of hip-hop soul, Mary J. Blige, were two of the headliners at the annual Rodman & Renshaw conference in New York this week, featuring hundreds of private, small- and mid-cap companies reviewing financials and warning about forward-looking statements to large audiences of well-groomed investors and analysts.

During an evening reception held in the modest confines of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, R&R auctioned four items to benefit the McCarton Foundation for autism research. Three of the items were your standard all expense paid vacations to exotic destinations including a celebrity hideaway in Los Cabos and a retreat at 'the spiritual home of The Macallan' (normally only available to the scotchmakers' directors). The value of those getaways was put as high as $70,000.

None could compare with the value of the fourth item, however - a 'priceless' personal genome sequence, courtesy of Illumina and Knome, to be delivered on a portable hard drive. 

"Join celebrities like Glenn Close, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Ozzy Osbourne, and Larry King [really?], who have obtained their sequences for tens of thousands of dollars," the guide read.

The organizers apparently felt that the bidding process would be aided if they held the auction several hours into an open bar, although pity the auctioneer trying to maintain order before an increasingly restless crowd of inebriated investment bankers waiting for Blige to hit the stage.

Suffice to say, the auctioneers didn't quite get their reserve price...




Life Technologies Touts Contagion Readiness

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Davies_pic September 7, 2011  

 Kevin Davies :  It would be hard to confuse Paul Billings, chief medical officer of Life Technologies, with Matt Damon, and Mark Stevenson is definitely no Jude Law (despite the accent).

Nevertheless, these two Life Technologies executives play starring roles in a short new video that the San Diego-based company, in conjunction with the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), has timed to coincide with the release of Contagion, the new all-star movie directed by Steven Soderbergh, which opens this week. Contagion is an action flick that centers around the sudden, catastrophic outbreak of a lethal infectious microbe.  

One of the chief advantages of the new Ion Torrent sequencing platform, which Life Technologies acquired last year, is its ability to generate sequence data quickly, with relatively long read lengths. Both attributes served the company well in responding to the deadly E coli outbreak in Germany last summer.

"We have the tools to respond to [an outbreak], and we can control it in most cases," says Billings reassuringly. Stevenson adds that Life Technologies offers a complete 'soup-to-nuts' solution to deal with future outbreaks, from sequence to confirmation to software.




I-Study: Genomic Interpretation - Who Will Pay?
During this webinar, members of the study review team present preliminary findings of the I-Study, conducted at the Harvard Medical School's 2011 Personalized Medicine Conference.
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