Since its beginnings almost half a century ago, gene sequencing has become indispensable for basic biological research. Thanks to new techniques, tens of thousands of genomes have been sequenced to this day, including the human genome. Traditionally, the process relied on analyzing dozens of DNA fragments in individual reactions. Shankar Balasubramanian, the Herchel Smith Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, and his colleague David Klenerman co-invented a method that allowed them to analyze several billion DNA strands at the same time with a color-coded approach. At Falling Walls, Balasubramanian shows how he and the Solexa-Illumina team made the process of gene sequencing a million times faster, while at the same time reducing the cost to under $1,000. This has key impacts in the fields of environmental sciences, crop sciences, bioenergy, as well as in personalized medicine, paediatrics and oncology.

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