University of Michigan startup Arbor Biosciences announced this afternoon that it is providing free kits to capture the genetic code of virus samples for researchers working on COVID-19 sequencing. According to a press release sent out by the University of Mchigan, “variations in the virus’s genetic code reveal how the virus has morphed over time—for instance, enabling it to change from an animal disease to one that can be passed from one human to another. The information could help shed light on how the genes of the virus, SARS-CoV-2, cause the symptoms of the disease COVID-19. But more important in the long run, it could help reveal the factors that enabled the virus to become infectious in humans.”
When we were kids, it was headline news that the human genome had finally been sequenced, a remarkable feat of science that cost $2.7 billion and took 15 years to complete. Today, according to Matthew Hymes of Arbor Biosciences, it’s possible to replicate the same work for under $1,000, which has allowed an entire field of genomic sequencing to emerge, with applications from crop disease resistance studies to research on ancient DNA from archeological digs, to medical research. Arbor Biosciences is one of those companies, whose work in genomic sequencing can be applied to a host of industries.