Today in Research: Cheaper DNA Sequencing; Beer Origin Countries

By The Atlantic Wire

Discovered: cheaper DNA sequencing, a hopeful HIV mouse study, chewing gum for weight loss, when robots act self-aware, and a math model to identify the origin of one's beer.

  • DNA sequencing is much, much cheaper. You know when you buy an expensive, overly priced laptop that will inevitably be half the price a few years later? Well, the same sort of rapid technological evolution is happening in the human genome sequencing biz, except much, much faster, The New York Times reports in an article explaining how researchers are swamped with sorting out the massive amounts of data they have access to: "sequencing a human genome -- all three billion bases of DNA in a set of human chromosomes -- plunged to $10,500 last July from $8.9 million in July 2007, according to the National Human Genome Research Institute." Again, that's a drop from $8.9 million to a little over 10 grand in four years -- which seems great, except probably for the people who paid for the technology in June 2007. [The New York Times]
  • No longer will you fool researchers about where their beer came from, because University of Seville researchers are saying they've developed a "technique based on chemical patterns" (i.e. looking at the different base ingredients, it appears) and mathematical analysis to suss out the difference in country origin between beers. "German, Spanish, and Portuguese beers have been detected with 99 percent accuracy thanks to the model." We're not really sure about the practical implications for this, but we suspect that the University of Seville researchers, if they had their tools with them, might do much better in a blind bar beer taste test than the average person. [Eurekalert]

Read the full story at The Atlantic Wire.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2011/12/today-in-research-cheaper-dna-sequencing-beer-origin-countries/249119/