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Nobel laureate James Watson receives personal genome in ceremony at Baylor College of Medicine

The $1 million, two-month project is a collaboration of 454 Life Sciences and the BCM Human Genome Sequencing Center (HGSC), said Dr. Richard Gibbs, director of the HGSC and a scientific advisor to the Connecticut-based company. The announcement, aside from its meaning to Watson, is significant because it demonstrates that it will be possible in the future to sequence anyones genome a goal toward which many sequencing firms are working. The time and cost will decrease as the technology improves.

Personalized genomes span the gulf between genetic diagnostics and genomics, said Gibbs. This project brings together research genetics, genetic diagnostics and genomics into the new vision of personal medicine. All of that is embodied in this project.

A report on the project and a commentary on its ethical implications are scheduled to appear in the near future. The raw sequencing data was released today to the publicly available resource called GenBank National Center for Biotechnology Information Trace Archive (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Traces/trace.cgi).

When we began the Human Genome Project, we anticipated it would take 15 years to sequence the 3 billion base pairs and identify all the genes, said Gibbs. We completed it in 13 years in 2003 coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the publication of the work of Watson and Dr. Francis Crick that described the double helix. Today, we give James Watson a DVD containing his personal genome a project completed in only two months. It demonstrates how far the sequencing technology has come in a short time.

When I conceived the 454 Sequencing(TM) technology, I envisioned making routine individual genome sequencing a reality to help with personal medical care, said Jonathan Rothberg, founder and former chairman of 454 Life Sciences. Since Dr. Watson is the co-discoverer of DNAs structure and a 1962 Nobel Laureate, it is onl
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Contact: Lori Williams
loriw@bcm.edu
713-798-4710
Baylor College of Medicine
31-May-2007


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