Interviewee: Leroy Hood.
Leroy Hood talks about DNA sequencing.
Well the major reason DNA lends itself to it, much better than proteins, is the alphabet of DNA is just four different letters. And as Mike suggested, we were interested in using fluorescent methods for color-coding each of the four letters and being able to essentially read their order out in these long strings. And we knew that there were at least four different fluorescent dyes that had distinct spectra that could be detected. So this was a mechanism and a capacity that was well within the kind of technical means that we had in hand. And the idea that you could color-code the entire four-letter digital human genome and read it out was a very exciting one.
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The sequencing method developed by Fred Sanger forms the basis of automated "cycle" sequencing reactions today. Fluorescent dyes are added to the reactions, and a laser within an automated DNA sequencing machine is used to analyze the DNA fragments produc
Techniques to read the sequence of DNA, letter by letter, have been available since the 1970s. However, the massive task of sequencing the three billion basepairs of the human genome required machines that could read and interpret the data.