DNA Chips (Terra Futura)

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The DNA Chip was a chip that acted as a medical tricorder. It was a laboratory on a chip. It helped revolutionize diagnosis.

(The background section of this page uses the words from the background and medical tricorder sections of the tricorders page of Terra Futura to save time.)


Diagnosis of disease was never easy. It had been known back in ancient times. Ideas came out of people like Hippocrates. Then, in the early 20th century, a man named William Osler proposed that a doctor had to be able to identify a disease and its symptoms and to understand its mechanism and how to cure it. This was the basis for modern diagnosis and treatment. Years later, Osler's successor, Archibald Gerrod, inspired by Hippocrates, proposed that some diseases were inherited. This was confirmed by the Human Genome Project in the 1990s. In the early 21st century diagnosis of disease was revolutionized by the tricorder.

In 2012, the Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize was launched. The first two years were for registration. In 2014, the qualifying round began. When it ended, ten teams were left in the competition. The final round began in 2015. The number was first reduced to five. Finally, a winner was declared. The medical tricorder that won successfully diagnosed 15 diseases in 30 patients. The company whose tricorder won proceeded to make a tricorder that could diagnose even more diseases. This revolutionized healthcare totally. It could diagnose disease, show ongoing personal health metrics such as heart rate, monitor ongoing health, summarize a person's health, and confirm a person was healthy or not. The cost of healthcare and health insurance was significantly reduced. Eventually, the medical tricorder became ubiquitous. It could be found in toilets, in bathroom mirrors, in clothes, and even in a person's body. This was made possible by the DNA chip.


Tech Level: 10

With DNA fragments embedded on the chip, this advanced medical tricorder could identify genetic disorders from a select group of genes. Cancer could be detected before it became a problem. The invention of the DNA chip occurred in 1997 when it was released to the public by the Affymetrix company. This early DNA chip could analyze 50,000 DNA sequences. By 2000, DNA chips could 400,000 DNA sequences for a few thousand dollars. By 2002, even more powerful DNA chips cost $200. The DNA chip became cheap enough to be commonplace. This made the medical tricorder ubiquitous and reduced the cost of diagnosis. Soon, this would not only revolutionize diagnosis. It would help cure disease, too.

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