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This article is part of the supplement: Beyond the Genome: The true gene count, human evolution and disease genomics

Open Badges Invited speaker presentation

Reading and writing genomes

George Church

  • Correspondence: George Church

Author Affiliations

Harvard Medical School, NRB Rooms 232 & 238, 77 Ave Louis Pasteur, Boston, MA 02115, USA

Genome Biology 2010, 11(Suppl 1):I2  doi:10.1186/gb-2010-11-s1-i2

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published:11 October 2010

© 2010 Church; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Invited speaker presentation

The human genome draft published in 2004 was a milestone, but achieved at a cost of $3 billion it is inapplicable to diagnostics for global health. We have reduced the cost of sequencing by over a million times in the past six years. The next step is integrating Genome + Environment = Trait (GET) data on large diverse cohorts enabled by a new consent mechanism ( webcite) in a globally shareable, unrestricted form ( webcite). This includes time-series studies of microbiomes and immune responses to such microbes, allergens, vaccines and allele-specific expression in pluripotent stem cells. To move from correlations to causations and cures requires a similar million-fold improvement in DNA writing technology - via use of DNA synthesized on chips and Multiplex Automated Genome Engineering (MAGE). Applications include metabolic engineering and multivirus resistant cells.