Xenophilia (True Strange Stuff)

Blog of the real Xenophilius Lovegood, a slightly mad scientist

How do scientists decide which animal genome to sequence next? – By Christopher Beam – Slate Magazine

Posted by Anonymous on July 20, 2009

Mouse.In the July 16 issue of Nature, genetic researchers announced that they had finished sequencing the genomes of two species of parasitic flatworms that cause the disease known as snail fever. The flatworm is just the latest in an expanding list of sequenced genomes that now includes the human, the fruit fly, the mouse, the cat, the duck-billed platypus, various bacteria, and hundreds of other species. How do scientists decide which genome to sequence next?

They follow the money. The National Institutes of Health, which helps fund at least half of the nation’s genome-sequencing research, regularly receives project proposals from scientists. In a white paper, researchers explain why they want a particular organism sequenced—why it’s useful, what they hope to learn, etc.  …

If you have enough money, you can always fund your own sequencing. But the vast majority of funding comes from government agencies.  …

How much does sequencing cost? The original Human Genome Project cost $300 million and took more than a decade. But that project established a template that made every subsequent undertaking quicker. These days, you can get a complete individual human genome sequenced for about $50,000. (That doesn’t include the fixed costs of the sequencing machine, lab space, etc.) But that cost is plummeting. One independent company will sequence part of your genome—usually the parts related to particular genetic diseases—for $5,000. And some genetic scientists predict that sequencing an entire genome will soon cost $1,000 and take 20 minutes.

via How do scientists decide which animal genome to sequence next? – By Christopher Beam – Slate Magazine.

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