Press Release

J. Craig Venter Science Foundation Announces $500,000 Technology Prize for Advances Leading to the $1,000 Human Genome

ROCKVILLE, MD (September 23, 2003). The J. Craig Venter Science Foundation announced today a $500,000 Genomic Technology Prize. The prize, to be awarded one time only, is aimed at stimulating the scientific and technology research community to significantly advance automated DNA sequencing so that a human genome can be sequenced for $1,000 or less as soon as possible. The prize was announced during New Frontiers in Sequencing Technology session at the 15th annual Genome Sequencing and Analysis Conference (GSAC) in Savannah, Georgia.

Over the last decade there have been significant advances in the field of genomics. More than 150 genomes, including the human genome, have been sequenced. Despite this progress we need substantial improvement in technology so that genomics can be fully integrated into all of our lives. One such area is DNA sequencing, said J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., president and founder of The J. Craig Venter Science Foundation. By continuing to reduce the cost and increase the accuracy and speed of DNA sequencing we will enable genomics to be more fully integrated into areas such as clinical medicine. It is the hope of the Venter Science Foundation that providing this challenge to the scientific community will enable us to reach the $1,000 genome sooner..

While sequencing costs continue to decline (currently costs are approximately $300,000-$500,000 to sequence the gene and regulatory regions of a human genome) and on the order of $25 million for a 5X coverage of the genome, it is necessary that these cost decrease significantly toward the $1,000 mark. Once this threshold has been reached it will be feasible for the majority of individuals to have their genome sequenced and encoded as part of their medical record.

The $500,000 technology prize, funded through the J. Craig Venter Science Foundation endowment, will be awarded once to an individual or group of researchers whose technology significantly enhances the field of high throughput DNA sequencing by enabling a human genome to be sequenced for $1,000 or less. Technologies will be judged by a group of external experts. Complete rules and procedures will be announced in late December 2003 after a meeting of the Venter Science Foundation.s Prize Committee.

J. Craig Venter Science Foundation is the support organization for The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR), The Center for the Advancement of Genomics(TCAG), Institute for Biological Energy Alternatives(IBEA), and the J. Craig Venter Science Foundation Joint Technology Center (JTC). The Foundation provides administrative support and coordinates policy and research activities among the four organizations. The Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) organization.

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