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Chinese scientists develop cheap gene sequencing methodology

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Professor Linmao Qian and colleagues from his lab at the Tribology Research Institute at Southwest Jiaotong University in China reported an advance in technique that promises to make gene sequencing affordable with present technology in the Dec. 6, 2013, edition of Science China Technological Sciences.

Gene sequencing has advanced to the state of theoretical technology that a complete gene sequence scan for a person now costs about $1,000 using nanopore gene sequencing. To date the nanopore methodology has suffered from a lack of the expected accuracy and speed needed to make gene sequencing inexpensive, fast, and accurate.

Professor Qian and his colleagues solved a major part of the problem by determining that a low salt concentration is more conducive to the sequencing process. Low salt concentration not only increases the speed of gene sequencing using nanopore technology but increases the accuracy of the method and the size of a molecule that can be accurately mapped.

Fast gene sequencing is important in the coming age of individualized medicine where drugs and treatments are expected to be adapted specifically to any individual’s genetic code. Fast, accurate, and low cost gene sequencing is a necessity for individualized medicine to attain fruition. Qian and his group’s advance in gene sequencing promises to produce a cost reduction though decreased turnaround time.

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