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Profiling George Church

In The New York Times, David Ewing Duncan profiles geneticist George Church, who eventually wants to sequence the entire genomes of 100,000 people as part of his work on the Personal Genome Project. Church, a researcher at Harvard Medical School, runs a lab that employs 45 students and has co-founded or advises about 22 businesses — including ones in the areas of synthetic biology, sequencing and DTC genetic testing startups — Duncan says. But his most talked-about work is the Personal Genome Project, which has already sequenced and made public the genomes of 12 people. The project has 16,000 volunteers and Church hopes to make it to 100,000, Duncan says. "The goal of getting your genome done is not to tell you what you will die from," Church says in the article, "but it's how to learn how to take action to prevent disease." Duncan writes that Church is also working on a project in "mirror biology" — creating DNA and cells that are exact opposites of their natural versions — and expects to have a functioning mirror cell that serves some function in about two years.

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