An instrument capable of reading thousands of DNA fragments per second is being developed by researchers led by Tony Bland of the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge. The concept behind it was unveiled last week at a briefing in London. It took a decade and an army of researchers working together to produce the first reading of the human genome, but researchers think they will soon be able to do the job in a day.
Another application of the research groupsmagnetoelectronics work has arisen through a partnership between Prof Bland’s group at Cambridge University and the 4G gene sequencing team at the University of Southampton. This partnership aims to use magnetic information storage technology to create a new method of sequencing DNA. The idea is to use miniature magnetic sensors similar to those used in a hard drive read head to detect magnetically encoded beads functionalized with sequences of DNA. This could ultimately enable the sequencing of 4 billion bases a day – the entire human genome.
In 2005, the cost of sequencing a genome had dropped to about two million dollars The goal of the Personal Genome Project (PGP) is to get the cost of sequencing an entire human genome down to $10,000 by 2009 and $1,000 by 2014 There is also the genome x-prize to encourage and reward success in this area.