What do your genes say about your athletic ability? Is there E/coli in this food? Are these GMO tomatoes? Questions almost impossible to answer unless you have a $20,000+ real-time PCR machine lying around in your home. Chances are you don’t but that could change thanks to a new Kickstarter campaign by Chai Biotechnologies which aims to make home DNA testing data easy and affordable to extract and understand.
The Open qPCR is a real-time PCR thermocycler based on open source principles and developed by Chai Biotechnologies. According to the company a device of this kind can detect food contaminants such as E. Coli and Listeria, identify fraudulently labeled food products (dolphin meat in your tuna for example) and can be used to diagnose infections such as HIV and Malaria in emerging countries. The best part is it’s much cheaper than its traditional counterparts.
According to Chai Biotechnologies real-time PCR can:
Identify genetic mutations that increase our likelihood of cancers, such as those within BRCA1. It’s a fundamental tool of biological research, and has literally thousands of other applications too long to list.
The Kickstarter campaign has already surpassed its $50,000 target and now has a $200,000 stretch goal. With a current price point of $1,499 which will in theory decrease as economies of scale take hold, perhaps a device like this will be as commonplace in the home as a kitchen appliance.