Gene sequencing costs fall as synthetic biology applications are on the rise


cost per genome

(Image Source: National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI))

Synthetic Biology is an emerging field of biotechnology, for which there are countless applications across many sectors. Synthetic Biology involves the engineering of biological systems to allow us to more efficiently produce pharmaceuticals, chemicals and biofuels, not to mention re-engineering crops to create plants that are better food sources for the growing global population. Not surprisingly, some of the key technologies underpinning this sectors development are gene sequencing technologies and gene synthesis technologies. As you can see from the graph above, sourced from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), the price of gene sequencing has fallen dramatically over the last decade, making the commercialisation of synthetic biology applications much more financially viable. In fact, 23andme will do single-nucleotide polymorphism genotyping (SNP) of your genome for a mere $99, and you can get the whole thing sequenced for around about $5000. That's a far cry from the nearly-$3 billion it took to complete the Human Genome Project just over a decade ago.

With recent advancements in the synbio space, we many soon be able to engineer organisms that allow for development of more personalised medicines, better biosensors, and the design of cells that can produce large quantities of biopharmaceutical products with maximum efficiency – not to mention the potential to engineer bacteria and viruses that may be used as disease therapies themselves.

Want to know more? You can check out how synthetic biology will change your industry here. Or, you might be interested in attending SynBio 2014. SynBio 2014 is the first fully commercial conference and exhibition to recognise and respond to the opportunities raised by Synthetic Biology, focussing on the research, innovation and commercialisation opportunities within this sector.

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