Thursday, May 10, 2007

1010 by 2010

That's 1010 base pairs of DNA sequenced or synthesized by one person in a single day. That's a hell of a lot. More than enough to cover the whole human genome several times. And that's just one person. Imagine how much a factory full of monkey could do. If you think this sounds ridiculous, read the rationale for the prediction in this great article. As shown below, the projection is based on the current exponential growth of biotechnology, mimicking the trend known as Moore's law, where the number of transistors that can be fit on a microchip has been growing exponentially for the last 50-60 years. The article makes some interesting comparisons between the two industries and also features some of the best discussion I've read on the future of biotechnology and its place in society.