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Does the Human Genome Need its Own Mark Zuckerberg?

"The human genome is having its Facebook moment," says Chicago magazine.

The Genomics Data Commons, which went online in June, contains 4.1 petabytes of cancer data, about 4 percent of the data stored by Facebook as of 2012, the article says. Given the continuing evolution of technology, that number can only grow. Much like how the invention of the smartphone also gave a boost to people's use of social media sites like Facebook, faster and cheaper DNA sequencing will boost the number of people who have their genomes sequenced, Chicago says.

"In four years, from 2007 to 2011, the cost of sequencing a human genome fell from $8.9 million to $10,500," the article adds. "It's expected to fall below $1,000. That's the bioinformatics equivalent of putting a camera on a smartphone."

The magazine notes several initiatives, such as those of England and Saudi Arabia, to have large portions of some countries' populations sequenced in order to further the development of genomic medicine, diagnosis, and treatment, and cites a recent paper that suggests 100 million to 2 billion people could have their genomes sequenced by 2025, "in other words, between the number of people on LinkedIn and the number of people on Facebook right now."

And all that data has to go somewhere — in databases like the Genomic Data Commons, for example.

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