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Using the Heliscope to Sequence Yourself

Stephen Quake, Stanford University researcher and co-founder of Helicos, and his team sequenced a male human of European descent (aka Quake himself) using the Heliscope, they report in Nature Biotechnology. Our sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News reports that it took four weeks and $48,000 in reagents to sequence Quake's genome. The machine, which the New York Times says is "about the size of a refrigerator," costs, according to Quake, "about $1 million, depending on how hard you bargain." With it, the researchers generated billions of reads, averaging 32 base pairs in length, and 28x average coverage. They have also determined about 2.8 million SNPs. "You have to have a strong stomach when you look at your own genome," Quake tells the Times. At Genetic Future, Daniel MacArthur compares the new Heliscope data to current data coming off second-generation platforms to determine "just how far the company has to go before it can hope to compete."