Monday, January 09, 2012

Makes You Think, Doesn't It?

The human genome project (HGP) was a scientific initiative designed to determine the sequence of chemical base pairs which make up human DNA and identify and map the 20 – 25 thousand genes that represent all of a human’s hereditary information.

It was an enormous undertaking officially started in 1990 and expected to take 15 years to complete. The scientific community rejoiced in 2003 when they announced with much jubilation that the project had been completed 2 years ahead of schedule. The estimate cost was 3 billion dollars.

Later this week, California based Life Technologies will announce the release of a benchtop sequencer designed to do what the HGP took 13 years to accomplish. The time? About a day. The cost? About $1000.

Seemingly unfathomable leaps in technological progress by mankind are not uncommon, but will never cease to amaze me. Perhaps what does, though, is that new advances in technology are being introduced at greater and greater speeds.

It took radio broadcasters 38 years to reach an audience of 50 million, television 13 years, and the Internet just 4 years. The most powerful computer a quarter century ago would easily be dwarfed by the $1000 laptop I'm using to write this piece.

What's on the horizon and beyond continues to titillate the mind. Innovations that have yet to be dreamed up will change our world and reshape humanity.

May you live in interesting times.