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About Sequencing & Genomics


An organism's genome refers to all the hereditary information encoded in its genes. Sequencing a complete genome, a gene, or a fragment of genetic material involves determining the order of its sub-units: adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine.

Scientists are using individuals' genetic sequences to map and catalog human genetic variation in order to improve understanding of human biology, disease susceptibility, and drug response. As costs falls rapidly, the scale and speed of gene sequencing is increasing. The Human Genome Project required thirteen years and $3 billion to sequence the first complete, general human genome. Subsequent projects, such as the International HapMap Project, examined genetic variation between population groups, raising concerns of giving undue biological significance to social categories of race.

Now, the sequencing of complete genomes of specific individuals is becoming almost routine. For example, the Personal Genome Project plans to sequence 100,000 genomes.

Lower prices have also opened the door to companies that offer personal, direct-to-consumer genetic tests.


Genes Are Overratedby Nathaniel ComfortThe AtlanticJune 1st, 2016The discovery of DNA wasn’t predestined, nor does it dictate our destiny—and current ideas about it may die.
Huntington’s disease: the new gene therapy that sufferers cannot affordby Dara MohammadiThe Guardian [UK]May 15th, 2016Scientists are working on genetic therapy treatments for Huntington's disease, which affects many families in South America, but it is a difficult and expensive endeavor.
Orphan Black emphasizes the science in its sci-fi with a disturbing chapter on eugenicsby Caroline FramkeVoxMay 15th, 2016TV show tackles the personal, scientific, and societal implications of eugenics, gene editing, and germline engineering.
The disturbing thing that happens when you tell people they have different DNAby Ana SwansonWonkblog [The Washington Post]May 13th, 2016A new study suggests emphasizing essential differences based on genetics can encourage aggression between groups and stir support for war.
Scientists Hold Secret Meeting to Consider Creating a Synthetic Human Genomeby Andrew PollackThe New York TimesMay 13th, 2016An invitation to the Harvard meeting said the primary goal “would be to synthesize a complete human genome in a cell line within a period of ten years.”
Top scientists hold closed meeting to discuss building a human genome from scratch[citing CGS' Marcy Darnovsky]by Ike SwetlitzSTATMay 13th, 2016If we can build a synthetic genome — and eventually, a creature — from the ground up, then what does it mean to be human?
After rivals’ IPOs, will CRISPR Therapeutics go public or stay buttoned-down?by Damian GardeSTATMay 12th, 2016Like CRISPR Therapeutics, Intellia and Editas were once cagey about their development pipelines, but in documents filed prior to their IPOs, they had to spell out their work.
Is academic achievement written into your DNA? It’s complicatedby Sharon BegleySTATMay 11th, 2016Altogether 74 genes explain less than .05% of differences in education levels; behavioral genetics has long been notorious for claiming complex behaviors are the inevitable product of inherited genes.
Meet The Scientists Fighting For More Studies On Genes And Racial Differences In Healthby Peter AldhousBuzzFeedMay 11th, 2016Many question if medicine should seek genetic differences based on a social construct like race, diverting research away from environmental health impacts.
Scientists are trying to use CRISPR to fix everything. What’s wrong with that?by Emily McManusTED IdeasMay 5th, 2016A historian of eugenics asks: "Will individuals start making decisions to use new biotech to improve themselves and their children?"
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