Life Technologies Introduces The Benchtop Ion Proton I: Human Genome Sequencing for $1000

The BenchTop Ion Proton ILife Technologies pushed the envelope on our ability to sequence fast, cheap, and more with the new Genome Sequencer Ion Proton. The BenchTop Ion Proton is designed to sequence a human genome in just one day for just $1,000. The new Ion Proton is based on the next generation of semiconductor sequencing technology just like its predecessor Ion Personal Genome Machine (PGM).

The Ion Proton Sequencer, priced at the base prize of $149,000 plus an additional $95,000 cost for computing. Life technologies said the Ion Proton sequencer breaks the cost-time barrier with the ability to sequence a human genome with in a day at $1000. Typical optical-based sequencing technologies like Illumina, takes weeks or months to sequence a human genome at a cost of $5,000 to $10,000. And also they about $500,000 to $750,000.

The Ion Proton Sequencer will be available in mid-2012 with the iOn Proton Chip-I that is ideal for sequencing human exomes (the protein coding part of human DNA (< 5%) ) and the full human genomes. By the end of 2012, Life Technologoes will univeil a new Ion Proton II Chip that is ideal for sequencing whole human genomes. Introducing the new sequencer at the CES, Life Technologies' founder and CEO Dr. Jonathan M. Rothberg said

Just six months after our first semiconductor sequencing chip was released, people used it to solve the German E. coli outbreak, sequencing the toxic strain in just a couple of hours. Now, six months later we’re developing a chip that’s 1,000 times more powerful than that to sequence an entire human genome in about the same amount of time. That’s the power that semiconductors bring to sequencing.

Life Technologies has also roped in Baylor College of Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, and The Broad Institute, as the first customers of Ion Proton I. Dr. Richard Gibbs, Director of the Human Genome Sequencing Center, Baylor College of Medicine, said

A genome sequence for $1,000 was a pipe-dream, just a few years ago,” “A $1,000 genome in less than one day was not even on the radar, but will transform the clinical applications of sequencing.

Dr. Richard Lifton, Chair of the Department of Genetics, Yale School of Medicine, said

Cost, speed and accuracy are key elements in the use of DNA sequencing for both disease-gene discovery and clinical utility. The technological advances in the new Ion Proton™ instrument promise to be game-changing for both research and clinical applications.

Dr. Chad Nusbaum, co-director of the Broad Institute’s Genome Sequencing and Analysis Program said

We are excited about the paradigm-shifting potential of the new Proton Sequencer, which projects to sequence a human genome in just a few hours with only one run on a single machine. The platform’s speed and power promise to enable both large-scale research and new clinical applications.”

In addition to these three academic institution Life Technologies is also partnering with researchers from Carnegie Mellon University to address the computational challenges in making sense of sequencing data and to use in diagnostic and treatment decisions. Ion Torrent with CMU researchers are developing open-source software that will help clinicians interpret and understand genetic data for meaningful application. Ion Torrent is also collaborating with Yale Medical School to identify best practices for diagnostic development and gene discovery as a model for genome sequencing in a clinical setting.

Dr. Robert F. Murphy, director of the Lane Center for Computational Biology in Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science, and the leader of CMU-IonTorrent team said that

The huge variation in human genome sequence between individuals has always been an obstacle to understanding how to use sequence information to improve human health. We believe new machine learning approaches will enable interpretation of personal genome sequences to help doctors diagnose and guide treatment in the near future.

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