Dr. Watson receives his genome sequence

Nobel laureate Dr. James Watson, who co-discovered DNA with fellow Nobel laureate Dr. Francis Crick in the 1950s (Watson left, Crick right in photo) and helped launch the successful Human Genome Project in 1990, received a DVD map of his own genome sequence last week. It was announced that Dr. Watson’s was the “first individual genome to be sequenced for less than $1 million.” Completing the sequence took two months.

A New York Times article today reported that “Soon enough, scientists say, we will all be able to decipher our own genomes — the six billion letters of genetic code containing the complete inventory of the traits we inherited from our parents — for as little as $1,000.” Comparing peoples’ genome sequences will permit improvements in medical treatments. “I think we’ll have a healthier and more compassionate world 50 years from now because of the technological advances we are celebrating today,” Watson said.

Dr. Watson plans to deposit his sequence with the GenBank database. Watson said that he planned to skip the section of the [genome sequence] map that would tell him if he was at risk for Alzheimer’s disease, which his grandmother died from. That, he said, he didn’t want to know.”