Class blog for sharing and commenting on current events in biology.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Genetic Analysis, the Office Edition

Genomic Analysis, the Office Edition 
By Anne Eisenberg
Kendall Beach 
Block C odd

"Genomic Analysis, the Office Edition" an article by Anne Eisenberg, is about a new break through advancement in medical technology. This new technology called knoSYSTM100, created by Knome, is 
essentially a file cabinet sized computer that creates an analysis of someone's genome. A genome is the complete set of genes or genetic material present in a cell or organism. Previously, to analyze someone's genome, there would have to be a team of doctors that would have to take the data and then send it to far away via the internet, making the information public. Not only was this process expensive, but it risked the privacy of the patient. On top of the cost of the teams of doctors, the old process cost 250,000 dollars, now with the new appliance it cost only 6,000 dollars. Not only is it less expensive, but the information stays within the home network, eliminating violating the privacy of the patient. Each unit costs 125,000 dollars, plus an additional 25,000 dollars for tech support when needed. The machine works by having raw data downloaded unto a hard drive, and then transferred into the machine. The machine then classified the data put into it, the software can even tell a difference between a person's genome and the reference genome. Although then new technology has widely impacted the medical profession, it isn't ready for common usage quite yet.

This software helps detect which medications are best for specific people based on their genetics. The knoSYSTM100 turns tedious jobs, into quick and effective results. This software can now help identify mutations that are typically present with certain diseases. Or it can compare children's and parent's genomes to search for inherited diseases. It can even help with cancer genetics to look for specific disruptions that are driving a tumor. Once this machine becomes more common, it will save hundreds, if not thousands of lives. 

I thought that his article was quite informative, and intriguing to read. Although it did not describe exactly how the machine worked. It also did not define many medical terms, which made it a bit hard to follow. That being said, I thought Anne Eisenberg did a lovely job writing an educational piece that stated fact and followed it with the professional opinions of many noteworthy doctors from the most prestigious schools in the country. 



Eisenberg, Anne. "NOVELTIES; Knome’s New Machine to Aid Labs in Genomic Analysis." The New York Times. The New York Times, 03 Feb. 2013. Web. 05 Feb. 2013.


  1. One thing that I liked about your review is that the summary explained the technology very well. You explained what a genome is and described what the knoSYS™100 is while comparing the past and present pricing on it. Another aspect of the review that I liked is the paragraph on how this software has an impact on society. It made the article’s importance clearer and emphasized why this technology can have a huge impact in a very comprehensive way, especially because I did not know what a knoSYS™100 was before I read this review. A third part of the review on the article that I liked is the background given on what the technology was like before this new software, and how the patient’s privacy would not only be violated in order to get the genome, but the cost was almost 42 times more expensive than with the knoSYS™100. One thing I was impressed by is the fact that genomes can save thousands of lives. I never thought about how comparing and contrasting each set of genes to other people would help identify diseases, which makes a lot of sense, and show if you were going to inherit a disease or cancer from your parents. Another thing that I learned from the reading was that data from a patient had to be sent via the Internet in order for it to be analyzed. I always thought that it was done in private on a computer, just like the knoSYS™100 does. One suggestion to make the review better is to explain the reason why it is helpful to society in a little more detail. I didn’t completely understand how the knoSYS™100 was less tedious than the original way because the main difference that I saw was just a lower cost and more privacy.

  2. You did a great job presenting the main facts. Especially the definition of genome, which is a complete set of genes or genetic material that is presented in the cell. Another aspect I found interesting was how you explained the technology called knoSYSTM100, that was created by Knome. Also it was interesting how you stated that this process could risk the privacy of the patient. I was really impressed that this software can help identify mutations. I think that is so interesting that technology is going so far and doing so many different things in life. I also found it interesting that the software can compare children's and parent's genomes to search for inherited diseases. Overall, I think you did a really great job. I think maybe you could have researched the machine a little bit and explained it more.