Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Ion PGM in Middle Schools … and on Mars?

"Anything you're proposing to fly in space, it should be in eighth grade science classes," Harvard's Gary Ruvkun tells Forbes, which is precisely why he expects that with technological advances, such as Life Technologies' Ion Personal Genome Machine, "sequencing will be done in eighth grade science classes very soon." According to Ruvkun — who has touted the power of PCR "to test for the existence of Earth-like DNA on Mars" in the past — the PGM methodology will eventually "be so cheap to put on a Mars probe that it would be silly not to," Matthew Herper at Forbes' The Medicine Show blog reports.

But in the midst of all the hoopla surrounding the Ion PGM's commercial launch, Nick Loman at Pathogens: Genes and Genomes says that while he was once "as guilty as anyone about buying into the hype," now, after hearing the machine's specs, he sees that "the tediously useful hype cycle has come into play and we’ve hit disillusionment rather earlier than expected with Ion Torrent." He does add, however, that Life Technologies' decision to "outsource the technical development to the community" — through it's $7 million contest — is a "genius move — if it works." Should the PGM's technical issues be resolved, "then the machine has a great future ahead of it," Loman says.

The Scan

US Booster Eligibility Decision

The US CDC director recommends that people at high risk of developing COVID-19 due to their jobs also be eligible for COVID-19 boosters, in addition to those 65 years old and older or with underlying medical conditions.

Arizona Bill Before Judge

The Arizona Daily Star reports that a judge is weighing whether a new Arizona law restricting abortion due to genetic conditions is a ban or a restriction.

Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.