Human gene sequencing gets an official yardstick

Human DNA sequencing

Gene sequencing, once a rare feat, is pretty common these days... but how do you know that your DNA data is up to snuff? As of now, there's an easy way to find out. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released reference genetic material that serves as a "measuring stick" for human gene sequencing. Researchers have tested this sample genome so thoroughly that it'll tell labs whether or not they're making typical mistakes, and ensure that their results are trustworthy. The hope is that you'll see bulletproof sequencing devices that take the anxiety out of pinpointing genetic conditions or understanding your ancestry.

[Image credit: Gerald Barber, Virginia Tech University (with permission of the National Science Foundation)]