As part of a UK initiative announced today to sequence up to 100,000 patients within the National Health System, Prime Minister David Cameron popped by the genomics core facility at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute.
James Hadfield, who runs the lab, says on his blog that it was "a little nerve wracking having my boss, his boss and his boss's boss standing by while I was talking to the country's boss."
As reported by our sister publication, GenomeWeb Daily News, the UK government has set aside £100 million ($160.9 million) to sequence up to 100,000 people and use their genomic information to help treat and to study cancer and other diseases. Sequencing will be voluntary and patients will be able to opt out at any time.
Hadfield says that Cameron asked him how easy is it to sequence a genome today, so he decided the best demonstration would be to have him do it himself.
"We prepared a cartridge and flowcell ready to go. The Prime Minister took the sample through the set-up screen, waited for the flow check and kicked of the run by pressing start," proving that sequencing is so easy that "even political leaders can do it."