IBM zeroes in on faster, cheaper sequencing machine

IBM is joining the genomic revolution. And the computing giant is already talking about taking the race to cut the cost of sequencing a genome--now focused on the $1,000 mark--to a whole new level as it leapfrogs into a leading position.

IBM already has a supercomputer project in place to model biologic processes. Now its combining its supercomputer capacity with its experience in material science and semiconductors to create a new, far faster sequencing machine that can reduce the cost of mapping the human genome to a mere $100. And as scientists continue to methodically illuminate the role of genetics in disease, individuals will be able to afford a careful reading of their risk of disease while drug developers will be able to operate with a clearly drawn map to disease targets.

"More and more of biology is becoming an information science, which is very much a business for IBM," Ajay Royyuru, senior manager for I.B.M.'s computational biology center at its Thomas J. Watson Laboratory, tells the New York Times. Eight years ago sequencing the first genome consumed a billion dollars. The cost today is somewhere between $5,000 and $50,000, and falling fast.

- read the article from the New York Times