Gene sequencing for the masses

Well, perhaps not quite yet. But it’s definitely on its way. This from Technology Review:

An inexpensive new gene-sequencing machine is due to hit the market next month, and its creators hope that it will make sequencing more common, ultimately giving a boost to personalized medicine. The machine is the brainchild of George Church, a genomics pioneer who developed the first direct sequencing technology as a graduate student in the 1980s and helped initiate the Human Genome Project soon after.

Church sees greater access to sequencing as a vital component in the drive toward personalized medicine, in which treatments and preventative medicine are tailored to an individual’s genetic makeup. The new machine, which was developed with an “open source” philosophy, was commercialized by Danaher Motion, based in Salem, NH, with the specific intent of keeping costs low. “It seems like the biomedical-instrument field in general tries not to commoditize,” says Church, who heads the Center for Computational Genetics at Harvard Medical School, in Boston. “It tries to keep profit margins high and slow the inevitable decrease in cost.” The Danaher device will cost roughly $150,000, a third to a tenth of the cost of systems currently on the market…