Skooter reporting 07/25/12
A US team announced it will compete for the $10m Genomics X prize - a race to open up genetic clues behind centenarians is set to begin next year. To identify genes associated to a long, healthy life, Dr. Jonathan Rothberg, the genetic entrepreneur is entering the competition.
Dr. Rothberg’s team and any other challengers, will be allowed 30 days to work out the full DNA code of 100 centenarians at a cost of no more than $1,000 per genome. On September 2013, the race will begin.
Competing teams have until next May to register for the competition, according to the rules of the Archon Genomics X Prize.
The first to formally enter the race is Dr Rothberg's team from Life Technologies Corporation in California. To be able to chain the full human genome at a cost of $1,000 or less is considered as a milestone in science.
It is seen as the doorstep at which DNA sequencing technology becomes affordable enough to be used widely in medicine, helping in diagnosis and in matching drugs to a patient's genetic framework.
Another genetic entrepreneur, Dr.said if they can do a human genome in a couple of hours with the use of one little machine, it's just shocking. We have come a long way.
One hundred people aged 100 have donated their DNA for the project.
People who reach a very old age, scientists believe they may have certain rare alterations in their genes which protect against common diseases of later life, such as heart disease and cancer.
It will aid scientists search for new medical treatments and probably ways to achieve longevity if these genes can be recognized by analyzing the DNA codes of centenarians. But many sample DNA sequences will be required in order to get the truth needed to isolate changes on the scale of a few genetic letters among the three billion in the human genome.
Dr Rothberg said the DNA of 100 centenarians is a good start towards seeking "the fountains of youth".
He was quoted as he told BBC News: "One hundred people will give you a hint. One thousand will make you reasonably sure. Ten thousand will let you say, 'Hey, these are the genes involved in cancer or heart disease'".
The originator of the prize Dr Craig Venter and is one of the main players in the race to chain the first human genome was completed in 2003. Dr. Venter said he could never have anticipated that genome sequencing would come this far in so little time.
Dr. Venter was quoted as he told the BBC: "I can't emphasize enough how impressed I am with the progress of technology and the dropping of the cost.
The X Prize Foundation is sponsoring awards for solutions to modern scientific challenges, from space to the human genome.
Any data collected from the X Prize will be shared with other scientists in the field, to support the quest for insights into ageing.