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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.


U.S. Introduces New DNA Standard for Ensuring Accuracy of Genetic Testsby Robert PearThe New York TimesMay 14th, 2015The National Institute of Standards and Technology has developed “reference materials” that could be used by laboratories to determine whether their machines and software were properly analyzing a person’s genome.
Microbiomes Raise Privacy Concernsby Ewen CallawayNature NewsMay 11th, 2015Call it a ‘gut print’. The collective DNA of the microbes that colonize a human body can uniquely identify someone, researchers have found, raising privacy issues.
Is DNA the Next Frontier in Privacy?by Nikhil SwaminathanAljazeera AmericaMay 11th, 2015Obama has called for 1 million people to volunteer their DNA sequences, along with health records and sensor tracking data, but the government is mum on how it will protect people's privacy.
The Blurred Lines of Genetic Data: Practicality, Pleasure and Policingby Jessica CussinsThe Huffington PostMay 8th, 2015Amidst a rumor that Apple may encourage iPhone owners to participate in DNA testing and share their genetic data, shocking news from Idaho is a reminder that we don’t always control what happens with our data, and won’t always like it.
DNA 'Printing' A Big Boon To Research, But Some Raise Concerns[With CGS's Marcy Darnovsky]by Rob SteinNPRMay 7th, 2015"Heinz talks openly about everybody being able to create entirely novel creatures... Do we want the teenager next door to be creating Godzilla in the bathtub? I don't want that."
The Blurred Lines of Genetic Data: Practicality, Pleasure and Policingby Jessica CussinsBiopolitical TimesMay 7th, 2015Amidst a rumor that Apple may encourage iPhone owners to participate in DNA testing and share their genetic data, shocking news from Ancestry.com and the Idaho police is a reminder that we don’t always control what happens with our data, and won’t always like it.
Apple Has Plans for Your DNAby Antonio RegaladoMIT Technology ReviewMay 5th, 2015Will the iPhone become a new tool in genetic studies?
Can we Still Rely on DNA Sampling to Crack Crime?by Danny ShawBBC NewsMay 5th, 2015The new arrangements are so convoluted that even the man responsible for overseeing them has cast doubt as to whether they can work effectively and fairly.
Myriad Genetics Fights Off Threats From Rivalsby Joseph WalkerWall Street JournalMay 3rd, 2015Nearly two years after the Supreme Court struck down gene patents, the DNA testing firm fights to sustain a business model.
How Private DNA Data Led Idaho Cops on a Wild Goose Chase and Linked an Innocent Man to a 20-year-old Murder Caseby Jennifer LynchElectronic Frontier FoundationMay 1st, 2015This case highlights the extreme threats posed to privacy and civil liberties by familial DNA searches and by private, unregulated DNA databases.
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