$10 Million Genomics X Prize To Be Announced In October

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Two years ago, Burt Rutan's SpaceShip One won the Ansari X Prize for spaceflight. Now the X Prize Foundation plans to announce a $10 million Genomics Prize for the first team to develop a technology that transforms sequencing a person's genome into essentially a diagnostic test. The goal is to hasten the advent of the era of personalized medicine in which treatments can be targeted to patients more precisely based on their specific genes.

The notion of prizes to encourage competitive and entrepreneurial scientific endeavors is a good idea. Robert Zubrin has suggested a $30 billion Mars prize and there is the Methuselah Mouse Prize (more than $3.5 million pledged so far) for trying to create "immortal" rodents. (OK, not immortal, but much longer-lived mice with the goal of inspiring anti-aging research to benefit people.)

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  1. Sequencing individual’s genomes is a great idea but it will be a long time before we have made sense of the deluge of data.

  2. I’m all for the technological break through, but we’ve got to think of the potential for discrimination. People already get locked up in hospitals for psychiatric labels that are blamed on genes. The next step is to lock up anyone with the suspect gene. The 14th ammendment should protect against this. It’s time for a test case to establish that protection.

  3. Sequencing individual’s genomes is a great idea but it will be a long time before we have made sense of the deluge of data.”

    This is largely because we don’t have enough samples to with histories. A cheap method of sequencing would go a long way towards filling in the meaning/data gap.

    jtuf-

    It’s all well and good to be cautious but the possible benefits are mind blowing.

    We’re in a race. The goal is to develop technology
    solutions before various problems do us in- individually and as a group.

  4. Stupendous Man,

    I agree the benefits are amazing, and I look forward to the technological developments. My point was that the political types have to get in gear and establish equal legal protections for all genotypes.

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