Illumina, Inc. has sequenced the DNA of American actress Glenn Close, the first publicly named female to have her DNA sequenced to full coverage. The service was completed in Illumina’s CLIA certified and CAP accredited laboratory utilizing Illumina’s Genome Analyzer technology.
Ms. Close’s DNA was sequenced to an average depth greater than 30 fold, providing information on SNP variation and allowing for the analysis of other structural characteristics of the genome such as insertions, deletions and rearrangements. Specifically, over 95% of the known genome was reported, including over 12 million genotype calls on previously documented SNPs. In addition, 379,000 SNPs previously not reported in any public database were found.
“We are very excited to work with Glenn Close to produce the first named female sequence,” said Jay Flatley, president and CEO of Illumina. “We are entering a new era in genomic health where information from an individual’s genome will increasingly inform lifestyle decisions and ultimately assist with health management. Ms. Close has been active in health issues, and her participation helps bring attention to the potential benefits of individuals gaining access to their genetic information. With this information, physicians will be able to make better healthcare decisions for their patients in the future.”
Close joins a small group of individuals who have had their genomes sequenced. “There is bipolar disorder and schizophrenia in my family, illnesses that, like other medical conditions, are thought to have genetic underpinnings,” said Ms. Close. “As human sequencing becomes increasingly routine, my hope is that researchers will unravel the genetic aspects of mental illnesses to bring greater awareness about the diseases, de-stigmatize them and pave the way for more effective treatments.”
Glenn Close is a co-creator of a nonprofit organization called BringChange2Mind, which is raising awareness about mental illness and fighting the toxic stigma that surrounds it by empowering those living with mental illness and those whose loved ones suffer from it to speak out and connect. BC2M also provides support and information to the mentally ill and their families. She has spoken out about the legacy of mental illness in her own family.
Illumina intends to create a social community for the education and exchange of information among those who have had their genomes sequenced. As more information becomes available, participants will be in a position to mine their personal genome sequence data to understand their identity in ways that never have been possible.
In addition to the sequencing service, Illumina is establishing a protocol, infrastructure, and community to enable large-scale adoption of personal genome sequencing. This includes the creation of a network of partners to offer a variety of services. Data analysis partners, physicians and genetic counselors will play an important role in Illumina’s Personal Genome Sequencing Service. A physician’s network is being created since physicians will be critical to the service, to discuss the process with the consumer, order the sequencing service, collect DNA samples and deliver final sequencing data to the consumer.
Date: March 11, 2010