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The first individual human genome has been mapped and will provide the first complete blueprint of an individual.
Researchers at J Craig Venter Institute have decoded 2.8 billion bits of genetic code of Venter himself, who is also the author of the study.
The study shows much more genetic variation between individuals than was previously known.
"The biggest single surprise is how much we missed the boat with the human genome seven years ago, and how different we really are," Dr. Venter said in an interview. "The overwhelming message back then was that we are all like identical clones of each other. ... It's comforting to know we are more unique than that."
"With this type of knowledge now in hand, the stage is set for an era of personalized medicine, where genome sequence information becomes a critical reference to assist with health-related decisions," said Dr. Scherer, who is also a professor of medical and molecular genetics at the University of Toronto.
Most experts predict that routinely reading individual genomes will become a reality within five years as the technology to unravel the six billion chemical units that make up DNA gets faster and cheaper.