Friday, January 27, 2006

Prize for DNA Decoding Aims to Fuel Innovation
When inventor Burt Rutan's SpaceShipOne soared 63.6 miles above the Earth in October 2004, he captured the $10 million X Prize and helped inaugurate the era of commercial human space flight.

The X Prize Foundation, a nonprofit-education organization, is looking to spur a new adventure -- into human genes.

The Santa Monica, Calif., foundation plans to offer a $5 million to $20 million prize to the first team that completely decodes the DNA of 100 or more people in a matter of weeks, according to foundation officials and others involved.

Such speedy gene sequencing would represent a technology breakthrough for medical research. It could launch an era of "personal" genomics in which ordinary people can learn their complete DNA code for less than the cost of a wide-screen television.

Details of the award are being worked out, and officials say they don't expect anyone to claim the prize for at least five to 10 years.
Hey, let's get started!