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New Asia-Based Group to Contend for X Prize Sequencing Award

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The X Prize Foundation today said that a new Taiwan-based group, called Cracker, has been accepted to compete for the foundation's $10 million Archon X Prize for Genomics.

The group, which is based in Hsinchu, Taiwan, is the first Asia-based contender for the prize and eighth contender overall, according to the foundation. Cracker was launched in 2007 and received funding from the Industrial Technology Research Institute.

The team at Cracker is led by Chung-Fan Chiou and is developing a new ultra-high speed, low-cost, and portable method to sequence long base-pair reads with high accuracy. It is based on the sequential conversion of photons to electrons and to DNA sequence, on a single composite chip, said the foundation.

"The fact that this team has been assembled from the interdisciplinary expertise so common at ITRI with its heritage of spinning off breakthrough technology companies bodes well for the eventual success of Cracker's approach," Larry Kedes, senior advisor to the Archon X Prize, said in a statement.

The $10 million prize will go to the team that is able to successfully sequence 100 human genomes within 10 days for less than $10,000 per genome.

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