Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



Gattaca, Here We Come

We're getting one step closer to the world of Gattaca. In the 1997 movie, everyone goes around getting their DNA sequenced in order to determine their worth.

DNA sequencing expert Complete Genomics (Nasdaq: GNOM  ) has begun performing whole genome sequencing on DNA samples derived from human saliva processed with OraSure Technologies' (Nasdaq: OSUR  ) collection kits.

Complete Genomics didn't mention the turnaround time for a complete genome sequence of a saliva sample -- it takes a little longer than a blood sample because the saliva sample contains bacterial DNA -- but it's certainly slower than the instant results seen in Gattaca.

Nor will the saliva tests be used by the general public just yet. The cost of whole genome sequencing is still too high, although it's decreasing in a dramatic fashion.

As the cost comes down, the first place we'll see ramp-up is in the use of genetic sequencing for clinical trials. If every patient in a clinical trial has their DNA sequenced, it might be possible to find genetic traits that increase the likelihood of a drug helping patients.

If it's done in a phase 2 trial, the knowledge could limit the risk of failure in a phase 3 trial by only enrolling patients that will respond. Costs could be reduced as well if it allows the trials to be considerably smaller. Asking for a saliva sample rather than a blood sample might make the process easier to complete.

The increased use will help Complete Genomics and OraSure, as well as Illumina (Nasdaq: ILMN  ) Life Technologies (Nasdaq: LIFE  ) and Pacific Biosciences of California (Nasdaq: PACB  ) , which make the machines that do the sequencing.

I have no doubt that the frequency of genetic testing will increase dramatically over the next decade until one day we eventually start approaching levels seen in Gattaca. Just keep in mind that with a lot of players involved and a race to make sequencing cheap, margins will likely be tightened. And let's hope we don't see the genetic profiling witnessed in the movie.

Interested in up-and-coming technology? Fool analysts have found three hidden winners of the smartphone and tablet revolution. Find out what they are and why the analysts like them in our new free report.

Fool contributor Brian Orelli holds no position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Pacific Biosciences of California and Illumina. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Read/Post Comments (1) | Recommend This Article (1)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2012, at 5:51 AM, InvestWhatWorks wrote:

    Gattaca was a box-office flop. Nobody saw it. Bad movie to use as a pop-culture reference, lol.

    Although I did like the movie.

Add your comment.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 1851859, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/28/2016 12:53:14 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 3 hours ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,169.68 -29.65 -0.16%
S&P 500 2,133.04 -6.39 -0.30%
NASD 5,215.97 -34.29 -0.65%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

12/31/1969 7:00 PM
GNOM.DL $0.00 Down +0.00 +0.00%
Complete Genomics CAPS Rating: **
ILMN $139.29 Down -0.66 -0.47%
Illumina CAPS Rating: *****
LIFE.DL $0.00 Down +0.00 +0.00%
Life Technologies… CAPS Rating: ***
OSUR $7.59 Down -0.06 -0.78%
OraSure Technologi… CAPS Rating: **
PACB $8.50 Down -0.10 -1.16%
Pacific Bioscience… CAPS Rating: ***