In Latest Expedition, J. Craig Venter Partners With Life Technologies

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sequencing system. And as Luke reported in October, Complete Genomics of Mountain View, CA, hopes to bring the cost of sequencing a genome down to $5,000 by providing a service-based approach instead of selling the machines.

What is particular significant, according to Lucier and others, is that the technology needed to sequence genes is rapidly advancing across a broad front, undergoing a kind of biotech version of Moore’s Law. The processing speed for gene sequencing is plummeting and “prices are coming down by orders of magnitude,” says Eric Mathur of Synthetic Genomics, a San Diego biofuels startup that Venter co-founded in 2005.

Mathur also was at the dockside party yesterday, along with microbiologist and Nobel laureate Hamilton O. Smith, a Synthetic Genomics co-founder who also serves with Venter as the company’s co-chief scientific officer.

Lucier says the effort at Life Technologies “is probably one of the most ambitious science projects we’ve ever undertaken.” Still, even with Venter’s help, the Carlsbad maker of laboratory tools and materials is now in a long-term race to advance gene-sequencing technology.

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