Sure, we've come to love the X Prize for all of its crazy futuristic car building and moon racing contests, but the latest competition is decidedly smaller -- at least in one sense. For the Archon Genomics X Prize, the foundation is asking teams to sequence "medical grade" human genomes -- 100 of them, in fact -- using the DNA of 100 centenarians (folks who've made it to the ripe old age of 100), referred to pithily as the "Medco 100 Over 100." The centenarian DNA may contain secrets to overcoming disease -- after all, they made it to 100 for a reason. The competition opens to teams on January 3rd of next year -- once completed, the data gathered will be opened up to researchers. Press info can be unlocked after the break.
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Introducing the Archon Genomics X PRIZE presented by Medco

The Archon Genomics X PRIZE presented by Medco is a $10 Million incentivized Competition, challenging scientists to design rapid, inexpensive and accurate whole human genome sequencing technologies.

How will you benefit from advancements in whole genome sequencing? A complete and accurate genomic sequence will be a vital diagnostic tool. Then you and your doctor would be able to make informed decisions about your health care, ushering in a new era of personalized medicine.

Teams registered in this competition are required to sequence 100 human genomes to a degree never before achieved, contributing to the first 100 "medical grade" genomes. To make the competition scientifically valuable for all of us, every team will be given the DNA of 100 centenarians (100 years old or older) to sequence. These 100 genomic pioneers are known as the 'Medco 100 Over 100.'

Centenarians may carry genetic variations that avoid or repress common ailments. With more than 7,000 diseases recognized; sequencing the Medco 100 Over 100 may further our knowledge of the secrets to a long and healthy and life.

Upon completion of the Competition, researchers from around the world will have open access to the data gained by sequencing the Medco 100 Over 100. This rich data may well benefit research efforts into common as well as rare diseases.

By decoding the secrets to a long and healthy life, therapies and drugs may be developed creating radical medical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity.

I hope you will follow our X PRIZE Team on this blog, Facebook and Twitter. We promise exciting news and fascinating stories as the Archon Genomics X PRIZE presented by Medco counts down to the Competition date, January 3, 2013.

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Archon Genomics X Prize offers up $10 million for sequencing 100 human genomes