DNA Day experts answer your questions about gene sequencing

Above: Image © Keren_J, iStockphoto.com

I understand that the genome for wheat was recently sequenced. Are there other economically important crops that are also challenging to sequence? Or, what is the next big challenge for genomics?

The wheat sequence is not completely done yet as it is a complex genome. Rice and canola is done. Corn and soybean are the next big ones.

- Answer provided by Dr. Gijs Van Rooijen

What do you think is the future of human gene sequencing? How will this technology help us in curing heredity linked diseases such as Alzhiemer's or Huntingdon's?

There is no doubt that it will become cheaper and easier to obtain DNA sequences in the future. The translation of the findings from DNA sequencing into medical interventions/treatments has been less straightforward. But there are many cases where the identification of the genes involved in a disease through DNA sequencing lead us to better treatments - the jury is still out, though, how effective the translation of our current DNA sequence data has been.

- Answer provided by Dr. Sean Myles

What does it mean when a company says they can ' sequence your dna' for you?

Companies will use technologies ( next generation sequencing) where they can read all the letters of the nucleotides of your DNA. we have 6 billion of these bases. So the companies will read the linear sequence of these letters. It costs about $ 4000 to do this for one person right now.

- Answer provided by Dr. Dennis McCormac

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