Forbes: “soon you’ll be able to afford that genome sequence you’ve always wanted”

by jeeg 24. August 2010 05:37

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ten years ago, mapping the human genome cost billions.  Now, a map of your genome could be your very own for as little as a thousand dollars!  Not that I’m one to question the powers that be, but see that downward dotted line labeled "Moore’s Law."  Moore’s law describes a long-term trend in the history of computing hardware, in which the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit has doubled approximately every two years—that’s a geometric progression, i.e. exponential growth.  Not to be a nit-picker, but (1) in this graph Moore’s law is heading in the wrong direction; and (2) it’s represented by linear curve rather than a segment of a parabola.  I’ve no doubt that soon enough I’ll be able to carry around my every last A, C, T, and G on a chip in my pocket—but what will that get me?

As more and more studies show, the gap between our individual genetic "code" and our health isn’t getting much smaller—certainly not at the rate you’d expect given the vast sums of money private enterprise has dumped into the so-called "new" personalized medicine.  I’d be surprised if this graph didn’t also approximate the profit forecasts for some of the country’s biggest pharmaceutical companies.  Having invested countless billions in recent years, it’s going to take more than an upside down trend in computing hardware and some fancy gene sequencers to make healthcare any more personal than it already is.

 

By Andrew Thibedeau

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