Feeds

Intel bets millions on speedy DNA sequencing chips

Bio-silicon start-up gets $100m

Business security measures using SSL

Intel is among several investors pumping $100m into a biotech start-up that wants to make mapping an individual's genome as routine as taking an X-ray.

Pacific Biosciences of Menlo Park, California anticipates that by 2013 it will be able to sell a DNA sequencer that can tackle a person's entire hereditary information in as little as 15 minutes. The company's technology centers on the SMRT (Single-Molecule, Real-Time) chip, which is DNA sequencing hardware. Interestingly, companies making DNA sequencing machines have been following a Moore's Law type of trajectory where they're reducing both the time and cost associated with cranking through genomes by about half every 18 months.

The technology departs from the current industry-standard Sanger method of gene inspection — used for the Human Genome Project, which took approximately 13 years to complete. PacBio uses a faster machine that inspects longer blocks of DNA sequences. Long reads make it easier to piece together lengthy, repetitive sequences of complex genomes and generate better overlap to reconstruct them.

PacBio's approach is basically to break double-stranded DNA molecules into single fragment strands that are placed in thousands of 70 nanometer-wide holes on top of sequencing chips.

Normally, DNA replicates itself via enzymes called DNA polymerase. When DNA unzips itself, polymerase duplicates the complementary half, and presto, identical cousins. PacBio feeds in nucleotides with fluorescent markers to suss out what's happening in this process.

According to The Wall Street Journal, PacBio's fistfuls of venture money are being provided by Intel Capital (the investment wing of Intel), Deerfield Capital Management, T. Rowe Price, Morgan Stanley, FMR, Alliance Bernstein Holding, Maverick Capital, Redmile Group, Alloy Ventures, DAG Ventures, TEachers' Private Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Mohr Davidow Ventures.

The Journal reports PacBio hopes hospitals will routinely use the technology to identify how people will respond to drugs based on specific genetic markers.

There's also no better way to show your significant other you care than firming up the odds of her getting cancer. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch
For decades Hollywood actually binned its 4K files. Doh!
Oi, Tim Cook. Apple Watch. I DARE you to tell me, IN PERSON, that it's secure
State attorney demands Apple CEO bows the knee to him
Apple's big bang: iPhone 6, ANOTHER iPhone 6 Plus and WATCH OUT
Let's >sigh< see what Cupertino has been up to for the past year
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Get your Indian Landfill Android One handsets - they're only SIXTY QUID
Cheap and deafening mobes for the subcontinental masses
Apple's SNEAKY plan: COPY ANDROID. Hello iPhone 6, Watch
Sizes, prices and all – but not for the wrist-o-puter
A SCORCHIO fatboy SSD: Samsung SSD850 PRO 3D V-NAND
4Gb/s speeds on a consumer drive, anyone?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.