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XGenomes is bringing DNA sequencing to the masses

XGenomes is bringing DNA sequencing to the masses

As healthcare shifts to gene-customized treatment, one of the biggest obstacles to truly personalized medicine is the lack of rapid, low-cost genetic testing.

Few people are more familiar with Karim Mill than the problem of today's genetic diagnostic tools. He is the founder of the 52-year-old XGenomes who has been studying the human genome throughout his career.

" Ultimately, genomics will be the foundation of health care," Mill said. “To do this, we need to turn to population sequencing.” Population-scale gene sequencing is not possible with current technology.

"If we talk about the sequencing of the population of millions of people, we have no throughput," Mir said.

This is why he founded XGenomes, which will be shown next week as part of the latest batch of Y Combinator .

As a visiting scientist at the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, Mir collaborated with the famous Harvard University professor George Church to develop a new gene sequencing technology that promises Sequencing speeds and costs at a higher level are far below any cost in the market.

Since the successful completion of the project's $1 billion project, the cost of genome sequencing has declined significantly over the past 19 years.

These days, gene sequencing can take days and cost about $1,000, Mir said. But for XGenomes, Mir hopes to further reduce the cost of testing.

"We have developed a method in which we directly sequence DNA, and we will not manipulate it except open the double helix," Mir said.

Running a startup focused on genetic sequencing on a population scale is not what Mir thinks he did when he grew up in Yorkshire, England. “When I was there, I didn’t go into science or technology. I was very interested in literature,” he recalls.

The situation changed when he read the brave new world of Aldesh Huxley and began to think about the meaning of genetic manipulation proposed in this book.

Mir continues to study molecular biology at Queen Mary's College and works at a biotechnology company in the United States after graduation

After returning to England to complete his Ph.D. in the mid-1990s, Mir studied genetics with geneticist Edwin Southern and now forms the core of testing techniques, such as 23andMe, {19459005IlluminaandAffymetrix

Xgenomes technology works by melting DNA strands and then sequencing the strands simultaneously.

" I like to imagine the genome as a book. The genome has chapters, and the chapters may be chromosomes," Mill said. "C The urrent technique is read verbatim. [But] w I am recognizing words."

The company is able to achieve this feat by using optical imaging technology. The sample is treated with a reagent and then excited by a laser. XGenomes tech then "reads" the highlighted DNA fragments and identifies them.

Using this new technology, Mir believes that he can eventually complete genome sequencing in one to two hours, with a minimum of $100.

This will be a huge change in the way testing is conducted, and can bring the rapid sequencing throughput that Mir calls to make the vision of truly personalized medicine a reality.

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