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Human genome
Human genome (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This period I am following an advanced course in genomics, while at the same time starting with a minor thesis in genetics. It will be interesting to learn about the latest developments in genomics.

Last year it was 10 years ago that the human genome was maps and a huge celebration issue of nature gives insight into the many implications of the human genome project. Even now, scientists are still improving the annotation (giving a function to parts of the genome) and everyday new genes are discovered and researched.

Part of the excitement about genomics lies in the fact that genomics has become cheaper and cheaper in the previous year. The capacity to sequence doubles every five months and a decent genome can be sequenced for almost 10000 dollars.

It is waiting until the moment comes when sequencing a genome does not cost more than 1000 dollars. That is when personal genomics comes into play. Personally I do not think that having your own genome sequenced is of much interest but from a scientific point of view it is very interesting to compare different individual genomes.

Comparing multiple genomes of several individuals will give tremendous insight into the genetic part of diseases and for example studies into cancer could benefit by cheap genomics.

Some people argue that the Human Genome Project is an investment beyond rational analysis. Its costs estimate from 0.5 billion to 2 billion US dollars. I think that the Human Genome project has led the way to deciphering more genomic secrets than we would have without it.

In the future either people will call us stupid to invest so much, or they will be thankfully that we were willing to spend more money on science than on anything else.