Intel to Develop Electronic DNA Sequencing Tech for NIH; Eric Green Comments

Intel will develop a single-molecule DNA sequencer for the National Institutes of Health under a four-year research grant.

The NIH announced it awarded $19 million in grants to develop new sequencing technology under the Advanced DNA Sequencing Technology Program, of which Intel is eligible for $5 million.

The company will receive $1.2 million in fiscal year 2012 funds to develop the sequencer for detecting electrically active tags attached to four DNA subunits.

“We can now access data we could not dream of getting in 2004 when we started this program — tens of thousands of human genome sequences have been generated,” said Eric Green, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute.

“And yet, the information we would truly like to get for understanding disease and, eventually, for treating patients, requires much better quality sequence data,” Green added. “That is the direction we would like to go with these grants.”

The NHGRI launched the program in 2004 to jump-start development of DNA sequencing technologies and by 2009, the program passed its initial goal of producing genome sequences of roughly 6 billion base pairs costing $100,000 each.

That is the same amount of DNA found in humans and other mammals that receive roughly 3 billion base pairs from each of their parents.

The NHGRI says the cost of sequencing a human genome is less than $8,000 each.

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