Sequencing DNA from individual cells is changing the way that researchers think of humans as a whole.
Most human genom
es, cancer or otherwise, are still sequenced from DNA extracted from multiple cells, which misses differences between cells that could be crucial in controlling gene expression, cell behaviour and drug response.
Last month, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that it would be funding single-cell studies, including genome sequencing, to the tune of US$90 million over 5 years. With this new funding the NIH is attempting to spur innovation in the field. So is Life Technologies, a sequencing company based in Carlsbad, California, which is offering a $1 million prize to the first researchers who can sequence the whole genome and all the RNA in a single human cancer cell using the company’s technology. The deadline for the challenge is the end of this year, and the company says that there has been an enthusiastic response. Anyone up for the challenge?!
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