Monday, June 28, 2010

Knome Cofactors Ozzie Ozbourne's Genome

I got an email today pointing out that Cofactor Genomics will be responsible for generating Ozzie Osbourne's genome sequence for Knome. Said email, unsurprisingly, originated at Cofactor.

Now, before anyone accuses me of being a shill let me point out that (a) I get no compensation from any of these companies and (b) I've asked for multiple quotes from Cofactor in good faith but have yet to actually send them any business. Having once been in the role of quote-generator and knowing how frustrating it is, I have a certain sympathy & see spotlighting them as a certain degree of reasonable compensation.

Knome's publicity around the Osbourne project has highlighted his bodyy's inexplicable ability to remain functioning despite the tremendous chemical abuse Mr. Osbourne has inflicted on it. The claim is that his genome will shed light on this question. Given that there are no controls in the experiment and he is an N of one, I doubt anything particularly valuable scientifically will come of this. I'm sure there will be a bunch of interesting polymorphisms which can be cherry-picked -- we all carry them. Plus, the idea that this particular individual will change his life in response to some genomics finding is downright comical -- clearly this is not someone thinks before he leaps! It's about as likely as finding the secret to his survival in bat head extract.

Still, it is a brilliant bit of publicity for Knome. Knome could use the press given that the FDA is breathing down their necks along with the rest of the Direct to Consumer crowd. Getting some celebrities to spring for genomes will set them up for other business as their price keeps dropping. The masses buy the clothes, cars and jewelry worn by the glitterati, so why not the genome analysis? Illumina ran Glenn Close's genome, but Ozzy probably (sad to say) has a broader appeal across age groups.

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