Tuesday, October 06, 2009

"CHIPS: IBM Unveils Personal DNA Sequencer Project"

Making DNA sequencing available to everyone for as little as $100 using its DNA-transistor-powered gene-sequencer on-a-chip will reap staggering benefits, according to its inventor, IBM, by identifying genetic predispositions and enabling designer gene therapies to cures maladies that resist traditional therapies. Look for IBM to create a gadget-like gene sequencer based on its DNA transistor within five years. R.C.J.

IBM announced a "personal genome sequencing" which its chairman, Sam Palmisano, described as harnessing its "DNA transistor" and state-of-the-art 8-inch semiconductor fabrication equipment to simultaneously manufacture hundreds of gene-sequencers-on-a-chip. Each chip will power a genome sequencing device that identifies every base in a person's entire 3 billion-nucleotide DNA sequence in about an hour. Making DNA sequencing cheap enough for everyone on the planet will identify each person's genetic predispositions, pinpointing medicines that are likely to help, drugs that are likely to cause adverse reactions, and usher in an era of new gene therapies that cure diseases that have been impossible to cure until now. IBM has pooled its resources in nanofabrication, microelectronics, physics and biology to make this dream a reality, estimating that the cost will be just $100 to $1000 per person, and will be available in a handheld gadget.