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New DNA reader to bring promise


Ion Torrent CEO and chairman Jonathan Rothberg holds a semiconductor sequencing chip that will be used in the new Proton semi-conductor based genome sequencing machine in Guilford, Connecticut, January 5, 2012.
Credit: Reuters/Michelle McLoughlin

(Reuters) - A new DNA reader could bring genetics to medical clinics.

After years of predictions that the "$1,000 genome" - a read-out of a person's complete genetic information for about the cost of a dental crown - was just around the corner, a U.S. company is announcing Tuesday that it has achieved that milestone and taken the technology several steps ahead.

The new genome-sequencing machine from Ion Torrent, a division of Life Technologies Corp. (LIFE.O), in Guilford, Connecticut, is 1,000 times more powerful than existing technology, says CEO and chairman Jonathan Rothberg.

Taking up about as much space as an office printer, it can sequence an entire genome in a single day rather than six to eight weeks required only a few years ago. The new sequencer, says cardiologist Eric Topol, chief academic officer of private California hospital and doctor network Scripps Health, "represents an exceptional advance and can change medicine."
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TAGGED: GENETICS, TECHNOLOGY


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