Thursday, November 20, 2008

High-throughput sequencing - the future?

Link to NY Times article

Using cells donated by a woman in her 50s who died of leukemia, the scientists sequenced all the DNA from her cancer cells and compared it to the DNA from her own normal, healthy skin cells. Then, they zeroed in on 10 mutations that occurred only in the cancer cells, apparently spurring abnormal growth, preventing the cells from suppressing that growth and enabling them to fight off chemotherapy.

Leaving aside the nit-picky details like how they selected the cell(s) to expand to a quantity sufficient for sequencing, how homogeneous the expanded cells were, how similar the expanded cells are to the original tumor cells, etc. etc., I believe this is the future of bioinformatics. When sequencing is fast and cheap enough that we can sequence everything quickly, we can answer new questions that are not tractable using current techniques.

Besides, playing with that much sequence data will be challenging (and super-fun!).

Other keywords: deep sequencing

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