Radar Roundup: Bio

(Feedback to the first week was that there were too many links per day and they were too random. This week I’ll try keeping it to 3-5 links, themed each day. First up: biotech and personal genomics.)

  • Insurance Fears Lead Many to Shun DNA Tests (NYTimes, reg required): many people not going through doctors to get DNA tested because of fears the insurance companies will learn the results and raise premiums or deny coverage. This suggests the personal genomics testing companies like 23 and Me will be popular.
  • More on personal genomics services (Genetics and Health): has a surprisingly (to me) list of personal genomics companies at the end. Interesting that they may differentiate on counselling and services—membership plans, even. Reminiscent of open source business models, only you still have to pay for the tests (at the moment) with the personal genomics companies.
  • Knome signs up first two paying clients for whole-genome sequencing (Genetic Future): $350k per person gets you the full sequence of your genome. As the blog points out, though, “no-one has a clue about the functional effects of most variations in the genome”. Capability exceeds utility at the moment.
  • So Called Life (WNYC, audio): science show episode about moelcular biology. Interviews with the MIT kids creating differently-smelling e. coli, and with George Church (making bacteria that produce biofuels) and Codon Devices founder (they generate genes commercially). (via Jason Stajich’s blog)
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  • Thanks for the pointer, Nat.

    It’s likely that our ability to sequence genomes cheaply and quickly will move much faster over the next few years than our ability to make sense of the data – but eventually, our understanding will catch up. It will almost certainly be cost-effective to buy your own genome sequence within the next five to ten years.