IT to drive biotech headway

Data processing and bioinformatics may become bottlenecks as the need grows to assemble and compare large numbers of genomes, says Xconomist in a list of five transformational biotechnologies of the future. The 10,000 times cost drop in human genome sequencing is just one indicator of what's to come.

In fact, four of the five technologies that made the list have a basis in computing and informatics. Genome-wide association studies--the search for disease-marking genome variations--is another. More full human sequences will aid researchers in identifying rare single nucleotide polymorphisms. And better sequence information should lead to improved content on microarrays.

Genome sequencing for cancer cures and the impact of bioanalytics on clinical diagnostics also made the list. In the latter case, imaging technology is providing increasingly high-res images of cell components--something that will become useful for monitoring living cells in real-time in the lab and eventually in the clinic.

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