Those vaguely affordable DNA
tests that promise to tell you just how likely you are to be stricken by some horrible and unavoidable genetic affliction in the future? They only look at a tiny fraction of the bits and bobs and bases that make up your genetic code. There's a race on to develop a quick and inexpensive way to sequence a human's entire
genome, a process that costs
about a million
thousands of dollars now and takes ages but, via the technique under development at Imperial College London
, could be done in a few minutes for a couple of bucks in 10 years. The process relies on nanopores, which are the go-to tech for companies trying to pull this off. Basically, a DNA strand is pushed through a 2nm hole on a silicon chip and, as it moves through, that chip is able to use an electrical charge to read the strand's coding sequence. That is then spit out to a supercomputer to crunch the numbers at a speed of 10 million bases per second and, within minutes, you too can have some hard data to make you freak out about the future -- and maybe a place to put your iPod
: As many of you pointed out, there are multiple places to get your full genome scanned now for prices in the mere thousands of dollars. Pocket change, really.