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In this lecture, Weissman gives an overview of the methodology that allows the sequence of DNA to be determined. He begins by explaining the classic Sanger sequencing technique using radioactively labeled nucleotides and gel electrophoresis. Next, advances such as fluorescently labeled nucleotides and capillary electrophoresis are introduced. Weissman then explains how automation and improved computing power allowed whole genomes to be sequenced, albeit slowly and at significant expense. Finally he introduces one of the “next-gen” sequencing technologies in which DNA is sequenced directly on a slide allowing millions of pieces of DNA to be sequenced in parallel. Weissman predicts that using this vastly improved technology will soon put the cost of determining an individual’s genome at as little as $1000.
Jonathan Weissman is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator as well as a Professor of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology and Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco. Jonathan received his undergraduate degree in physics from Harvard and his PhD, also in physics, from the Massachussets Institute of Technology. He did his post-doctoral work with Arthur Horwich at Yale University School of Medicine.
The Weissman lab strives to understand the mechanisms used by cells to ensure the correct folding of proteins. The disastrous consequences of protein misfolding are evident in Alzheimer’s and prion diseases. His lab is also developing experimental and analytical approaches to investigate the organization of complex biological systems.
Jonathan received the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in Biophysics in 2008 and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2009.
- David Botstein iBioSeminar: Fruits of the Genome Sequence
- Walter Gilbert iBioMagazine: Development of DNA Sequencing
- Joseph DeRisi iBioEducation: Genome Sequencing for Pathogen Discovery
Alberts B., Johnson A., Lewis J., Raff M., Roberts K., and Walter P. (2008) Molecular Biology of the Cell (5th edition) Chapter 8. New York: Garland Science