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Now Available: Innovators Under 35 2013 See The 2013 List »

Jay Shendure, 31

The $1,000 genome

Harvard Medical School

Biotechnologist and medical student Jay Shendure is revolutionizing genetics with a new way to sequence DNA.

In 2005, he used off-the-shelf parts to determine the order of all the DNA bases in a bacterial genome, at 20 times the speed and one-ninth the cost of traditional DNA sequencing. Shendure is now working to make the process even more efficient; by 2015, he says, it may enable biologists to sequence a person’s genome for just $1,000.

The technique builds on polony sequencing, a method developed in George Church’s lab at Harvard. Shendure spreads millions of tiny beads on a glass slide, each attached to a small DNA fragment. He then adds fluorescently labeled DNA bases. The bases bind to short, complementary DNA sequences, and a standard fluorescence microscope records which base is at each position on a fragment.

Shendure next plans to use the technique to sequence the genome of a lung tumor in order to identify the genetic mutations that caused it.

--Emily Singer

2006 TR35 Winners

Jeffrey Bode

Peptide "Legos" to make new drugs

Edward Boyden

Artificially firing neurons

Utkan Demirci

Disposable AIDS diagnosis

Manolis Kellis

Understanding genomes

Liam Paninski

Decoding brain signals

Jay Shendure

The $1,000 genome

Christopher Voigt

A vision in bacteria

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