Why Does Progress in DNA Sequencing Matter, Anyway?

Progress in DNA sequencing is similar to that of computing power in general - which is to say that overall capacity is increasing and cost per unit processed is falling at a staggering pace. Five years from now, sequencing your entire genome will likely cost less than the chair you're sitting on while reading this. Thus DNA sequencing is a poster child for speed of development in modern biotechnology: advances in understanding that would have required an entire research group and years of work a decade ago are now projects suitable for a single post-graduate researcher to complete over a semester off in one corner of the lab.

But so what? Why is this relevant to those of us following the early stages of the development of rejuvenation biotechnology? DNA sequencing seems like it's off to the side and down in the depths, one tiny part of the technologies involved in, say, repair of mitochondria or removal of senescent cells. Fortunately, here is one of the Halcyon Molecular folk to explain how DNA sequencing dovetails with the research we are interested in:

We are improving DNA sequencing to achieve our goal of turning biology into an information science. Along the way, various SENS approaches will be accelerated by improved DNA sequencing, and we present here specific experimental paths for using the tool in service of SENS. As one example, sequencing offers extreme technical shortcuts in molecular directed evolution techniques, allowing larger populations to be interrogated with fewer rounds of evolution and increased stringency of selection. This will accelerate attempts to find, improve, or evolve enzymes and other catalysts targeting age-related molecular damage. As another example, sequencing will enable better quality control of stem cells in both clinical and laboratory settings. We will discuss these specific experimental strategies and others that leverage improved sequencing to hasten progress toward saving lives via SENS therapy approaches.

DNA and Protein synthesis are more relevant metrics of progress in biotechnology.

Posted by: Abelard Lindsey at November 25th, 2011 5:12 PM

Interesting article especially the theory that "sequencing your entire genome will likely cost less than the chair you're sitting on while reading this."

I'm quite looking forward to that!

Posted by: Cain at November 28th, 2011 6:47 AM

I do a lot of DNA sequencing for my Master' and I have to say, I look forward to seeing the progress that will be made in the near future for improving sequencing

Posted by: Pholosho at November 15th, 2012 2:22 AM

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