First individuals in history to have genome sequenced by a personal genomics firm

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Jan. 22, 2008 — Knome and the Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI), announced today that they have initiated the process to sequence the entire genomes of two private individuals. These clients are expected to be the first individuals in the world to have their genome sequenced by a personal genomics firm.

"These individuals are pioneering an emerging science with us," said George Church, PhD, a co-founder of the firm and professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School. "Whole genome sequencing represents the future of personalized medicine and these sequenced genomes will nearly double the amount of whole-genome information available today."

To date, only three scientists have had their genomes sequenced, all as part of sponsored research efforts. These include Nobel Prize winner Dr. James Watson, Dr. Craig Venter and an anonymous Chinese scientist sequenced by BGI. Once the sequencing for these two most recent commercial clients is finished, Knome and BGI are expected to have completed the sequencing of three of the five known human genomes.

"We expect to complete the sequencing process for these clients in the coming months", said Zhuo Li, vice president of international collaboration at BGI. "With over 100 bioinformaticians, we have one of the top teams in the world focused on this important effort. We believe whole genome sequencing will ultimately drive advances in biomedical research and will enhance our understanding of the role of genetics in human function and disease."

Knome's whole-genome sequencing and analysis services are being marketed globally to private individuals. Knome is currently offering a limited number of clients the opportunity to participate in its 2008 sequencing programs. Pricing starts at $350,000 and includes both sequencing and a comprehensive analysis from a team of leading geneticists, clinicians and bioinformaticians.

"We are very happy to be underway with our first clients," said Ari Kiirikki, vice president of sales and business development at Knome. "At this time, both clients have chosen to remain anonymous. As part of our service, we have developed a variety of processes and tools designed to keep their genomic identity private and secure. If they choose to release their identity or share their genetic code, it will be on their own terms."

About Knome
Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Knome has the distinction of being the first personal genomics company to commercially offer whole-genome sequencing and analysis services for individuals. Whole-genome sequencing decodes nearly all of the six billion bits of information that make up an individual's genome, unlike genome scanning or "SNP chip" technologies that decode only 0.02% of an individual's genome. Working alongside leading geneticists, clinicians and bioinformaticians, Knome enables its clients to obtain, understand, and share their genomic information in a manner that is both anonymous and secure. Knome is a privately funded company. Please visit for more information.

About BGI
Established in 1999 and headquartered in Shenzhen, China, the Beijing Genomics Institute is the largest genetic sequencing center in Asia. BGI has been a core participant in all major international sequencing efforts, including the International Human Genome Project and the International HapMap Consortium. The Institute has one of the largest bioinformatics teams in the world and has made a significant investment in state-of-the-art sequencing technologies, deploying over 120 sequencing machines, 10 supercomputers, and 500 terabytes of storage capacity. Please visit for more information.

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