Skip to main content

New research brings personal genomics closer than ever

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Personal genomics, the next major medical paradigm in which treatment and pharmaceuticals can be tailored to a person’s specific genome, requires cheap processes for mapping of individual genomes to be a success. Research recently published in the journal Nature shows how semiconductors can be used for the sequencing process, using Gordon Moore of Intel and Moore’s Law fame as their test subject. The research team, led by Jonathan Rothberg of Connecticut-based Ion Torrent, used their new semiconductor-based Personal Genome Machine to sequence Moore’s genome. The PGM is produced like a regular semiconductor chip, being created on a CMOS board with dozens of other chips before being cut out and set into an array, shown above.

From the study:

DNA sequencing and, more recently, massively parallel DNA sequencing has had a profound impact on research and medicine. The reductions in cost and time for generating DNA sequence have resulted in a range of new sequencing applications in cancer, human genetics, infectious diseases and the study of personal genomes, as well as in fields as diverse as ecology and the study of ancient DNA. Although de novo sequencing costs have dropped substantially, there is a desire to continue to drop the cost of sequencing at an exponential rate consistent with the semiconductor industry’s Moore’s Law as well as to provide lower cost, faster and more portable devices. This has been operationalized by the desire to reach the $1,000 genome.

While not yet to the $1,000 price point considered the holy grail of genome sequencing, the $49,500 Personal Genome Machine has made massive leaps forward in terms of cost and speed. In addition to sequencing Moore’s genome, the PGM was able to decode the genome of a bacterium in just two hours.

Rothberg’s device uses a different process for identifying individual nucleotides, which are the building blocks of DNA, than past sequencers and processes, such as those utilized by the Human Genome Project. While resolution and accuracy still isn’t as high as machines costing several hundred thousand dollars, the fact that the Personal Genome Machine is really just a series of computer chips means that it should adhere to Moore’s law. In other words, it will continue to more powerful and cheaper at a steady pace.

Derek Mead
Former Digital Trends Contributor
The best portable power stations
EcoFlow DELTA 2 on table at campsite for quick charging.

Affordable and efficient portable power is a necessity these days, keeping our electronic devices operational while on the go. But there are literally dozens of options to choose from, making it abundantly difficult to decide which mobile charging solution is best for you. We've sorted through countless portable power options and came up with six of the best portable power stations to keep your smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other gadgets functioning while living off the grid.
The best overall: Jackery Explorer 1000

Jackery has been a mainstay in the portable power market for several years, and today, the company continues to set the standard. With three AC outlets, two USB-A, and two USB-C plugs, you'll have plenty of options for keeping your gadgets charged.

Read more
CES 2023: HD Hyundai’s Avikus is an A.I. for autonomous boat and marine navigation
Demonstration of NeuBoat level 2 autonomous navigation system at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show

This content was produced in partnership with HD Hyundai.
Autonomous vehicle navigation technology is certainly nothing new and has been in the works for the better part of a decade at this point. But one of the most common forms we see and hear about is the type used to control steering in road-based vehicles. That's not the only place where technology can make a huge difference. Autonomous driving systems can offer incredible benefits to boats and marine vehicles, too, which is precisely why HD Hyundai has unveiled its Avikus AI technology -- for marine and watercraft vehicles.

More recently, HD Hyundai participated in the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, to demo its NeuBoat level 2 autonomous navigation system for recreational boats. The name mashes together the words "neuron" and "boat" and is quite fitting since the Avikus' A.I. navigation tech is a core component of the solution, it will handle self-recognition, real-time decisions, and controls when on the water. Of course, there are a lot of things happening behind the scenes with HD Hyundai's autonomous navigation solution, which we'll dive into below -- HD Hyundai will also be introducing more about the tech at CES 2023.

Read more
This AI cloned my voice using just three minutes of audio
acapela group voice cloning ad

There's a scene in Mission Impossible 3 that you might recall. In it, our hero Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) tackles the movie's villain, holds him at gunpoint, and forces him to read a bizarre series of sentences aloud.

"The pleasure of Busby's company is what I most enjoy," he reluctantly reads. "He put a tack on Miss Yancy's chair, and she called him a horrible boy. At the end of the month, he was flinging two kittens across the width of the room ..."

Read more