Friday, June 01, 2007

James Watson's Genome Sequenced


Scientists in Houston presented Watson with a DVD of his genome sequence, which they said was the "first individual genome to be sequenced for less than $1 million". The carefully worded claim may be an acknowledgement that another personal genome project has already been completed: J. Craig Venter has deposited his genome sequence into the public GenBank database, he told Nature two weeks ago.

The only deliberate omission from Watson's sequence is that of a gene linked to Alzheimer's disease, which Watson, who is now 79, asked not to know about because it is incurable and claimed one of his grandmothers.

Scientists said yesterday that Watson's genes showed some predisposition to cancer. Watson — who, working with Francis Crick, deduced DNA's structure in 1953 — has had skin cancer, and a sister had breast cancer.