BioNanomatrix Inc. and Complete Genomics Inc. said Thursday they have formed a joint venture that has received an $8.8 million government grant to develop a system capable of sequencing the entire human genome in eight hours at a cost of less than $100. Today, the cost of sequencing the roughly 3 billion base pairs in the human genome is more than $100,000.
The grant for the five-year project to BioNanomatrix of Philadelphia and Complete Genomics of Sunnyvale, Calif., was awarded through the National Institute of Standards and Technology Advanced Technology Program. The venture will combine Complete Genomics’ novel sequencing chemistry with BioNanomatrix Inc.’s advanced nanofluidic platform, he said, which allows single molecules of DNA, RNA or other proteins to be separated out of laboratory samples for imaging and analysis.
BioNanoMatrix and Complete Genomics have proposed adapting a novel DNA sequencing chemistry combined with nanoscale DNA imaging to create a system that can “read” very long DNA sequences of greater than 100,000 bases at high speed and with accuracy exceeding the current industry standard.
The total project cost is expected to be approximately $17.8 million, including both the grant award from NIST-ATP and the matching funds that will be provided by the joint venture partners.
Another funded genome sequencing project: UC Irvine’s plan to AFM nanotechnology with a Nobel Prize-winning DNA sequencing method developed in 1975 by Frederick Sanger. The process will employ a novel DNA separation method using the atomic force microscope (AFM), a Wickramasinghe invention. Researchers will then decode the DNA sequence with the help of light concentrated at a probe that is about 50 atoms wide at its tip. It will take substantially less time to sort, analyze and then map DNA using this technique, since the procedure operates on a much smaller scale than the conventional Sanger method. This new process has the capability to produce accurate results that are both 10,000 times faster and less expensive to obtain, since many of the expenses related to current methods of sequencing DNA are tied to the time it takes and the large amount of chemicals used.