Life Technologies Corp. will introduce the Ion Torrent later today. And before you start getting all giddy and scream “the Ion Torrent is here!” or “What about the poor Proton torrent?” because you think it’s a file sharing service for atoms, let me assure you that it is not. The Ion Torrent, however, is the first sub-$1000 DNA reader. This is a price point that gene mappers have been trying to reach for a while. To be clear a thousand bucks isn’t going to let you play doctor with a home gene mapping device, that’s the price of the test.
Richard Lifton, chairman of the Yale University genetics department, told Reuters
he “foresees a ‘zero-dollar genome,’ making it likely that ‘we will just do it as part of routine clinical care’ for children and adults.” Yale School of Medicine, Baylor School of Medicine, and the Broad Institute are in the handful of research facilities that have signed on to purchase the printer-sized device.
The outcomes of widespread, DNA mapping are just starting to be debated. Good: find out if you’re pre-disposed to any diseases or defects. Bad: spend a lifetime worrying that you MIGHT get one of these diseases. Doctors are generally on board with the idea of integrating gene mapping with routine check-ups but err on the side of a slowly rolling out the idea.
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