The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

1000 Genomes Project

genetic storage.pngThe 1000 Genomes Project aims to build a resource to help understand the genetic distribution of disease.


“By characterizing the geographic and functional spectrum of human genetic variation, the 1000 Genomes Project aims to build a resource to help to understand the genetic contribution to disease. Here we describe the genomes of 1,092 individuals from 14 populations, constructed using a combination of low-coverage whole-genome and exome sequencing.”


It takes about a 2 terabytes to store the genomic information in detail.  1.5 gigabytes to store every DNA letter. If you have a good reference and only store the differences, it can be stored in about 20 megabytes. Today when you can get 3TB external drives for about $100, it means you can store all this information in a fraction of the space available on a typical drive today.

1092*20MB+1GB = 22GB compressed


Although storing the information may be cheap, collecting it will be costly (although this cost is going down rapidly too).


If you think out just five years, with the trend in exponential growth of today’s magnetic storage, for that same $100 you should be able to buy about 100 TB of storage ($1/TB). By then the population of the earth will be around 7 Billion people. So it would cost only:

7^9*20^6/1^9= $140 Million


to store the genomic information of everyone on earth. Not an outlandish sum, and it would definitely change how we think of medicine and that is assuming there are no disruptive breakthroughs in storage.


What other aspects of business use of IT are constrained by conventional thinking?

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