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GEN News Highlights : Jun 1, 2007

454 Life Sciences and Baylor College of Medicine Sequence Genome for Less than $1M

Mapping the genome of James Watson, Ph.D., was accomplished on the Genome Sequencer FLX in two months.

454 Life Sciences, in collaboration with scientists at the Human Genome Sequencing Center, Baylor College of Medicine, completed the genome sequence of James D. Watson, Ph.D., co-discoverer of the double-helix structure of DNA. The mapping of Dr. Watson’s genome was completed using the Genome Sequencer FLX™ system and marks the first individual genome to be sequenced for less than $1 million.

“When we began the Human Genome Project, we anticipated it would take 15 years to sequence the three billion base pairs and identify all the genes,” said Richard Gibbs, Ph.D., director, Human Genome Sequencing Center, Baylor College of Medicine. “We completed it in 13 years in 2003. Today, we give James Watson a DVD containing his personal genome—a project completed in only two months. It demonstrates how far sequencing technology has come in a short time.”

“When I conceived the 454 Sequencing™ technology, I envisioned making routine individual genome sequencing a reality to help with personal medical care,” said Jonathan Rothberg, Ph.D., founder and former chairman of 454 Life Sciences. “Since Dr. Watson is the co-discoverer of DNA’s structure and 1962 Nobel Laureate, it is only appropriate to work with him on this ambitious genome sequencing project. This project will pave the way for exploring life at the ultimate level by uncovering what makes each individual unique.”