Wired Magazine is again leading the Science and Technology frontier with a cover full of genomics in December, according to Nancy Miller, senior editor at Wired Magazine at a tech writing event sponsered by mediabistro and Yahoo!.
There has always been a science focus at Wired, with both news and leaders of the industry. But to claim the territory of genomics as a mainstream publication is bold, and probably the magazine with the right combination of technology and science! Right now there are articles in the news section about 23andme, genomics time line, and some applications of genomics. One question I have is how will getting our genomics information help us take better care of ourselves, an issue Health 2.0 is tackling.
The December Issue is to have genomics as the cover story – I can’t wait! I still like the look and feel of reading paper-based magazines, so I’ll be watching the newstand!
In the mean time, I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry at thinking the nerdiest desk ornament at Wired was brilliant!
A few more companies that have recently appeared on the radar:
“Complete Genomics (CGI) is a high-performance DNA sequencing company whose mission is to dramatically reduce the cost of DNA sequencing for research, drug development, and diagnostic applications.”
On their Science Advisory Board is Mark Chee, Ph.D., the co-founder of Illumina, who is presently Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer of Prognosys Biosciences.
Prognosys Bio homepage says the following about their business plans…
“Prognosys Biosciences is developing innovative assay technologies. Our strategy is twofold: to make them available for applications ranging from basic research to clinical diagnostics; and to use them to discover and validate molecular markers that have prognostic value.”
High Throughput Genomics, Inc. says they add speed and accuracy to drug discovery.
These companies join the ranks of Helicos, ABI, Illumina, and 454, all of whom can produce entire genome sequences with ultra-high-throughput sequencing systems.
I am trying to increase the ease of reading this blog so I am trying out a new template. I think less is more, and for anyone that thinks style is important for conveying information should consider taking a look at the works of Edward Tufte. Comments from the peanut gallery?
How many genes does it take to make a genome, at least when you are purchasing the information? What about paying for epigenitic information? Will I care WHAT genetic information I get so long as it answers my question:
“There are actually quite a number of companies offering information on our genomes.
1) Nutrigenomics – Sciona, Suragen
2) Medical genetics – DNA Direct, Opaldia (UK), Navigenics
3) Genetic genealogy – Ancestry.com, Family Tree DNA, 23andMe
4) Paternity and relationship testing – DNA Diagnostics Center, Genetic Testing Labs
5) DNA Art
And the list goes on….”
Perhaps in future posts I can detail some of the biology behind what each service sells from growing list. Just one note at this point, which is why in my mind there is a major difference between the above companies and the companies of 23andme and Navigenics: the quantity of information available about your genetic blueprint is much much greater with the new companies (your whole genome versus a few well defined genes that do something predictable). Once you have your genome sequence, and new discoveries are made about how the genome operates, you could update what you know about yourself (in theory)!
Like good science, it is going to be defining the question that is important for the consumer of genetics and genomics! Which is why it is fun to speculate what each company will be peddling because it will come in the form of an answer!
“Meanwhile, Navigenics board member Dana Mead, a partner at KP, tells us by email that Navigenics is doing something “different” from 23andMe and that he sees the company as “more complimentary than competitive” to 23andMe.”
As everyone keeps mentioning – neither company has a product yet. Certainly the basic genomic information people will buy about themselves isn’t available yet. Speculation on who’s partnering with who is high, and what the information we’ll be able to get remains cloudy (SNP versus whole genome sequence). Just because Illumina let slip they were partnering with 23andme does NOT mean that 23andme will use a single source instead of using all available technology. This kind of technology changes rapidly, so it seems silly for either company to put themselves in a restricted box (only one technology or a single company as a supplier) for a product that may not even exist yet! Exactly what is used in the future to sell your genome back to you depends a lot on when each company is ready to launch a service!
What is more likely is that the interpretation side (what exactly is the information going to tell you from your sequence) for each company will have a different focus. With different goals of telling you what the information means, each company could very well use the exact same technology to decode your genome but tell you slightly different (and hence complimentary) answers about yourself – it’s all about the questions each company is promising to answer about what your genome means! So far…they have really not said a whole lot as to what those questions are.
The race has started for companies wanting to sell you your genomic information. None are selling you products yet (except for your geographic ancestry from National Geographics Genographer).
23andme has been grabbing some attention because of receiving some Google funding, and Illumina’s CEO mentioned their partnership, check out the posting here at Symaxis. However, there is still nothing for sale (no Google Checkout for you…yet!). Recently Ester Dyson, board member of 23andme, recently talked to Charlie Rose, of which I wrote about here.
Navigenetics also has a website full of advisers, ethics, and policy. But no shopping cart…yet!
Esther Dyson talks with Charlie Rose about sharing her genome through the Personal Genome Project here on the Personal Genome blog. She doesn’t think that it is really so scary after all to share her genome with the world! She makes a really good point that environment is always going to be more important than genetics (for example your health insurance company will always want to know if you smoke!).
And interestingly, she unabashedly points out that yes indeed, the U.S.A. will lose it’s top dog status in the future world unless we find some respect for science toward the end of the video.
Further down the same page on the Personal Genome blog is the video clip of Dr. Spencer Wells discusses the National Geographic Genographic on the Colbert Report.
Blaise Aguera y Arcas demonstrates Photosynth from Microsoft with constructing Notre Dame from tagged pictures…use your imagination for what it could do for a genome!
Prognostications of the future of genomics: this is one of the best examples of what web3.0 will be, and genomics is the obvious application of this kind of technology!!!
Photosynth from Microsoft Live Labs will be able to create a synthetic metaverse based on tagging…no more searching through the 18 different sites and cross referencing to find out everything about your favorite region of the genome! The genome can be self-assembling!