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Life Technologies to Compete in Archon Genomics X Prize

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Life Technologies has registered for the Archon Genomics X Prize, the X Prize Foundation said today.

The winner of the competition will receive up to $10 million for being the first team to accurately and rapidly sequence 100 whole human genomes for $1,000 or less. The result of the competition, the X Prize Foundation said, is to create the first clinical standard "that will transform genome sequencing into usable medical information to improve patient diagnosis and treatment."

Life Tech is the first team to officially register for the competition, which is presented by Express Scripts, under new guidelines, the foundation said. The Ion Torrent X Prize team will be led by Ion Torrent CEO and Founder Jonathan Rothberg and use the Ion Proton sequencer in the competition.

Registration for the Archon Genomics X Prize ends in May 2013. The following September, teams will be given the DNA of 100 centenarians to sequence. The 100, who are part of Express Scripts 100 Over 100, represent a population of individuals whose genetic makeup and behavior have contributed to their longevity.

The teams will have 30 days to complete their sequencing.

After the competition, the X Prize Foundation plans to create a public database of the DNA sequences and cell lines from the genomes that were sequenced.

"The knowledge gained by compiling and comparing this library will further our understanding of health and longevity," the X Prize Foundation said.

"Through this competition, the X Prize Foundation is setting a very high standard for the industry to ensure that whole genome sequencing technologies are reliable, replicable, and can produce diagnostic quality results," Robert Weiss, vice chairman and president of the X Prize Foundation, said in a statement.

In November, the competition, when it was being presented by Medco, began recruiting centenarians. Express Script purchased Medco and new guidelines were implemented.

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