Genetic analysis on duty in MGH lab

The cancer center at Massachusetts General Hospital now has a genetic analysis system from Helicos Biosciences. The system incorporates a single-molecule sequencing technology--requiring no DNA ligation or amplification--for use in genome biology and cancer research.

A chief benefit of the technology, according to a Helicos announcement, is analysis of genes without the use of DNA amplification and its attendant biases, complexity and errors. In addition, the Helicos system requires minute amounts of starting material and provides "the most direct and accurate view of biological samples," the announcement says.

Daniel Haber is leading the Mass. General effort. He will use the technology in conjunction with the hospital's circulating tumor cell microchip (CTC-chip).

Separately, Helicos founder Stephen Quake has used the technology he helped create to sequence his own genome for less than $50,000--a far cry from the typical $250,000 price tag. Quake says he believes that the goal of a $1,000 sequencing process can be achieved within a few years. "We are about to see the floodgates opened," Quake told the New York Times

- see the Helicos/Mass General announcement
- here's the $50k sequencing report
- read the article in the New York Times

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