Liverpool, UK. Radical startup biotech company CrapBio has raised the stakes yet again in the battle for supremacy in the personal genome market. Two years since they rocked the foundations of the genomics community with their SHTseq system they have announced their new Quantum Atomic Capture Sequencer (QuACseq). They claim that this new technology not only sequences your DNA, but represents all quantum states of every base in the genome at any time.
CrapBio has had to fend off a lot of criticism recently as the SHTseq system that was announced two years ago has not yet been released onto the market and some people suspected that it was simply hype to get more investment funding. Insiders have been saying that they were never able to meet the advertised 25% accuracy they had aimed for.
Ian Goodhead, CrapBio Chief Scientific Officer reported: “the true complexity of the genome we can capture has been ignored by science until now as we have not previously been able to measure it.” He went on to explain: “In nature, nucleotides occupy a quantum superposition whereby they can exist as any possible base. It is only when they are sequenced that their state becomes fixed, hence by sequencing using traditional methods we alter the nature of the molecule we are studying. Our system uses Heisenberg compensator technology, which has only previously been imagined in science fiction; this allows us to read the DNA in a non-destructive way and without collapsing the uncertainty wave surrounding each molecule.”
CrapBio have publicly released a dataset from their new instrument. They have sequenced a cat named Higgs, a descendant of the cat used in Schrodinger’s original quantum experiments. They claim they have resolved a the genome sequence without gaps at 100% accuracy, making it the first fully contiguous vertebrate genome; but some remain unconvinced.
Dick Motson, a renowned Illumina pom-pom swinging cheerleader, said : “The example dataset they released is just 3 billion N’s, none of the bases have been resolved. It’s worse than useless”.
Goodhead responded “What Motson is doing is falling into the classic dogma that has held back biological research for years. He fails to understand the intrinsic uncertainty of the base-state of nucleotides. When our system reads an ‘N’ it means the base exists in all possible quantum states (A,G,C and T)… When Schrodinger did his original experiments with the cat-in-a-box he understood this as he recognized that the cat could be alive or dead. At the time, the structure of DNA was not known so he did not imagine that the cat could also be a dog in a parallel reality”
The press conference was clearly timed to steal a lead on the AGBT meeting in Florida where biotech companies usually vie to out maneuver each other with empty promises and performance projections, but excitement in the room increased when Goodhead announced registration was now open for their early access program: “Potential users can apply by simply sending their best research ideas and depositing $10,000 into our Swiss bank account. In return they will receive one device of unspecified performance at an unspecified time in the future. Users will be initially restricted to test-samples, and will be encouraged to develop their own sample preparation, base-calling, alignment, and analysis methods.”
Further announcements were made regarding the CrapBio dedicated human sequencing system that will be available to purchase from today. He explained: “The QuACseq D-500 can be purchased right away. This revolutionary system will usher in a new era in sub-$100 quantum human genomics. The system is a series of 500 QuACseq instruments initially restricted to analysis of human genomes of our choosing.” Initially the QuACseq D-500 can only be purchased by governments in return for handing over all fiscal, legislative and military power to CrapBio. They have already received one order from France.