Recently we reported from TEDMED about Life Technologies‘ personal genome sequencer, and now it has been officially launched. It is a desktop printer-sized personal genome machine that can sequence your complete genome in an hour or two. Ion Torrent, a recently acquired business unit of Life Technologies, has developed this little device based on its semiconductor sequencing technology. The company itself compares what the device will do for DNA sequencing to what point-and-shoot digital cameras have done for photography. The machine is faster and smaller than other sequencers on the market and, according to the company, is one tenth the price of other sequencers to buy and to run.
Now have a look at the image again: this thing even features an iPhone dock! No words about this in the press release or on the product site (the website looks like a work-in-progress), but the CEO of Life Technologies told us at TEDMED that it is for an iPod Touch that can be used by a lab tech to check on the status of a given sequencing run. Put in a DNA sample, connect your iPhone, wait one hour, and have your complete genome ready for exploration at your fingertips. Sounds like the future of medicine has arrived right now.
The company seems very confident in its technology, as it has simultaneously announced the Life Grand Challenges Contest, in which there will be seven individual challenges using the sequencer’s technology, each with a $1 million prize. The three Ion challenges are to produce twice as much sequence data, do it twice as fast, and do it with twice the accuracy. The four other challenges will be announced later in 2011.
Here is our interview with Greg Lucier, CEO of Life Technologies, where he got to present the system to the world:
Press release: Life Technologies Launches Ion PGM Sequencer…
Product page: Ion Personal Genome Machine sequencer…
Flashback: Life Technologies Unveils New Personal Genome Machine