Genomics

The study of our biological blueprint and the fabric of everything that is.

Genetics, DNA sequencing and gene therapy have all become ubiquitous terms in the modern scientific and healthcare arena – and for just reason.  The very blueprint of every minute detail of our biological existence is all easily available and accessible as a byproduct of innovations of technological advancement.  Our lives may not have come with an instruction book, but they definitely came fully equipped with the architectural plans of our grand design.

It is in this grand design that the ability to discover our genetic heritage is deeply nestled.  Mainstream science is already becoming pretty good at this, though there are still some cost-prohibitive barriers to entry.  But with cost-of-entry barriers aside, even more deeply nestled within those amino acids we call DNA – and beyond just the answers to how/why a prevalent medical ailment may exist – are the very solutions science is desperately trying to fabricate by way of its own crafted binary logic and reason.  Never mind the answers are embedded within the genetics themselves.  If Western scientists cannot see the answers in binary (e.g. one’s and zeros, black and white, on and off), then the answers do not exist. We are not here to dismiss Western science, for there is a massive amount of validity in the research and results produced.  But, we do think it is relevant to discuss genomics from our perspective – within the minds of those involved with Sonalkiss.  To better understand our perspective, let’s first understand the definition of genomics as defined by the Center for Disease Control.

“Genomics is the study of all genes in a person, as well as the interactions of those genes with each other and the person’s environment. All people are 99.9% identical, but differences in the remaining 0.1% hold important clues about the causes of human disease.” – cdc.gov

So, in understanding the definition of genomics as defined by the CDC, we can rationalize that the intention is to learn everything there is to know about the details within the human genome.  This is very fair and logical reasoning to help researchers define a broad enough goal to work within, while giving them the freedom to explore any avenue that may aid in the overall understanding of our human genome.  Through this logic, the human genome project was created with the intention of mapping and understanding everything there is to know about the human genome.  Again – a fair and logical goal.  This goal is a mandatory step to the progression of our pseudo-reverse-engineering tactics on our biological blueprint.   To date, this goal has been met with flying colors and now the focus has shifted to refinements within the process itself.

Many scientists and researchers have taken this marvelous feat of mapping our DNA and have begun to find genetic commonalities in diseases and have also begun to learn cause-and-effect in trial-by-fire attempts at treating certain ailments.  This is all well and good.  After all, someone needs to learn about chemical interactions within genetics.  However, this approach leads to several unsettling concepts that are becoming more prevalent in mainstream approaches to genomics.  This is where the road of genomics diverges for us at Sonalkiss – and we are excited to pave the way and traverse down this previously untravelled road.

At Sonalkiss, we are bypassing the reverse-engineering path and are instead choosing to learn and understand the language of our biology.  We believe that without ever getting to the root of understanding, that every other approach is merely a spattering of attempts to solve niche problems.  Take gene-therapy for instance.  Researchers are finding successes and bizarre failures by attempting to essentially cut out bad genes and splice in good genes for known medical triggers within our DNA.  This is no more advanced than taking the head of a monkey and attempting to attach it to the body of a tiger.  Science may have progressed to a microscopic level, but the implications are still the same.  True, there may be amazing results through gene therapy – and we believe that gene-therapy is a good interim solution for now – but something that breaks every rule of divine biology will not succeed forever or for everyone.  With approximately 50 trillion cells in the human body that contain DNA, the ramifications are extremely negative by invoking genomic change without targeting all 50 trillion-ish cells.  Cells are harmonious in nature.  Any disruption to this harmony is the root of all degradation to human health.  Think of the introduction of an organ through transplant to another human being.  Anti-rejection medicines have to be used until every cell in the human body can eventually encode themselves to a commonality.  The new organ introduced a significant amount of genomic abnormalities that had to be dealt with on a genomic level – and in the process introduced significant risk to the well being of the recipient.

The examples could go on and on, but let’s save that for another discussion.  The important takeaway from the aforementioned examples is that biologically, all cells must be targeted en masse in order to have a truly successful treatment.  At Sonalkiss, our research in the principles of the genomic language and the methods of communication are just some of the examples that set us apart from any other research being performed today.  Hopefully others will join our cause as well.  We are confident that all paths in genomics eventually lead to the necessity of uncovering this language.  It also just so happens that in every capacity of our research – even outside of the realm of genomics – all roads have led back to one.  This is truly where faith-seeking-reason and reason-seeking-faith interconnect.  And, it is where we find ourselves, our hearts, and our minds here at Sonalkiss.

Barriers of Entry in the Study of Genomics

Earlier we discussed briefly the barriers-of-entry into the genome sequencing market.  Below is an outline of the primary challenges within the industry.

One of the major barriers of entry into the study of genomics is that the cost to sequence a human genome (e.g. translate the DNA into data we can crunch) is still very hefty.  Today a human genome sequence can be had for around $10,000, but we are quickly approaching the $1000-per-genome goal established by an international group of scientists in 2008.  The $1000 genome could become a reality in 2013, and is inevitable in the not-to-disparate future.  But for now, the cost prohibits widespread and frequent sequencing.

Another challenge beyond the cost is the amount of time required to sequence a genome.  While the medical community would love to take a blood sample and immediately know what potential ailments are present with their patient, the truth is we are still a long, long way from that reality.  Established in the goals of the $1000-per-genome project, specific time limits were determined to attempt to reduce the time required to sequence a human genome to under 24 hours.  If Moore’s law holds true, this goal could become a reality in 2013 as well.

The final challenge with genome sequencing, is that the human genome contains a tremendous amount of data – between 2 and 30 terabytes worth.  More efficient data capture can reduce the size of the genome down to about 1.5 gigabytes, but that is still a tremendous amount of information to study and dissect.  To put that into perspective, the hard drives in most consumer products could not hold the raw amount of data required to store just one genome.  Now imagine trying to analyze data of that size.  For any relevant and credible analytics to be made, a sample size of thousands of genomes would be required.  And even then, the more genomes the better the results could be.  Analytical minds would love to have millions upon millions of sampled genomes, patient photographs, 3d biological scans and full medical histories to boot, but with the current state of technology, the barriers to entry are far greater than can be adequately compensated for.