Genome Breakthrough Zeroes In on Disease

New approach decodes entire genomes of individual patients
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2010 12:51 PM CST
Vials of blood samples.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Two teams of researchers have identified the exact genetic cause of their patients' rare diseases by sequencing their entire genomes, a sharp but promising departure of the previous application of genetics to disease. “I suspect that in the next few years human genetics will finally begin to systematically deliver clinically meaningful findings,” one researcher tells the New York Times.

It helps that the price is coming down: One man’s genome was decoded for $50,000, while a lab hopes to offer the service for $5,000. Until now, fewer than 12 individual genomes had been decoded, at great cost, with scientists preferring to focus on supposed problem areas associated with common diseases. That approach has largely been a bust and is expected to be replaced by this new personalized method.

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