Ion Proton Provides a Cheap Window into our DNA: The First Glimpses into the Once Unknowable

For The Price Of Two iPads, This Machine Can Sequence An Entire Human Genome“:

“If you want to take advantage of the latest plummeting price of genetic sequencing, it will be because of the Ion Proton. How did scientists find a way to get such a cheap window into our DNA?

The machine that can do that–in just two hours–is the Ion Proton, a genetic sequencer introduced by Life Technologies in January. It’s 1,000 times more powerful than its year-old predecessor, the Ion Torrent, and, at $1,000 per genome, a fraction of the price. A combination of Moore’s Law, ingenuity, and demand stand to make the Ion Proton the go-to gene decoder in a market that Life Technologies CEO Greg Lucier estimates will hit $2 billion by 2014. In turn, Life Technologies stands to make possible a future in which medicine is tailored to each individual’s DNA.

The inventor of the Ion Torrent, Jonathan Rothberg comments, “This is just the start–it’s not a magic wand, but I do believe in the next few years we’ll see an understanding of many complex disorders.” After all, giving doctors and researchers faster and easier access to DNA gives them a better look into life itself.

“Everything in the world starts with DNA,” Lucier says, “so our ability to understand how things work by understanding their computer code will allow us to do amazing things.” So while there’s no easy magic yet, there are the first glimpses into the once unknowable.”

About Mark J. Perry 262 Articles

Affiliation: University of Michigan

Dr. Mark J. Perry is a professor of economics and finance in the School of Management at the Flint campus of the University of Michigan.

He holds two graduate degrees in economics (M.A. and Ph.D.) from George Mason University in Washington, D.C. and an MBA degree in finance from the Curtis L. Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.

Since 1997, Professor Perry has been a member of the Board of Scholars for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a nonpartisan research and public policy institute in Michigan.

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