The full genome of James D. Watson, one of the discoverers of the structure of DNA in 1953, has been deciphered, marking what some scientists believe is the gateway to an impending era of personalized genomic medicine.
A copy of his genome, recorded on a pair of DVDs, is to be presented to Dr. Watson today in a ceremony in Houston by Richard Gibbs, director of the Human Genome Sequencing Center at the Baylor College of Medicine, and by Jonathan Rothberg, founder of the company 454 Life Sciences.
Dr. Rothberg’s company makes an innovative DNA sequencing machine, the latest version of which proved capable of decoding Dr. Watson’s genome in two months at a cost of less than $1 million, said Michael Egholm, 454’s vice president for research. The sequence was verified and analyzed by Dr. Gibbs’s center in Houston. It was Dr. Gibbs who proposed the idea of sequencing Dr. Watson’s genome.
Dr. Watson has said he will make his entire genome available for researchers to study, with the single exception of his apolipoprotein E gene, the status of which he does not wish to know because it predisposes a person toward Alzheimer’s disease.
Source: Genome of DNA Pioneer Is Deciphered – New York Times
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