Here’s a marvelous idea: a race to sequence 100 people’s genomes in 100 days, with a nominal prize of 10 million dollars. As a tool to motivate the discovery of new technologies and gain prestige, I approve. It’s unfortunate that it is so anthropocentric, though. A similar contest to sequence 100 species genomes in 100 days would be much cooler, and would contribute far more to our understanding.
They’ve also got a second 100 genomes to sequence that will be drawn from a pool of celebrities. I have reservations there; the ones named seem to be mainly people who happen to be filthy rich (i.e., likely to donate money to feed their vanity), rather than ones that have some biological interest. If you’ve got to pick a celebrity, go for ones with specific physical attributes that will generate potentially interesting comparisons: what about sports stars and chess champions?
Of course, what defeats the whole intent of this contest is that they ought to just hand the samples to that technician on CSI, and he’d whip out the whole shebang in a half-hour.