American scientist and entrepreneur Jonathan Rothberg is the brain behind the invention of the revolutionary high-speed, economical, not much time- consuming and multi-sectoral utility system called the Personal Genome Machine (PGM) that combines semiconductor sequencing technology with natural biochemistry to directly translate chemical information into digital data, democratising sequencing and making it accessible to virtually any lab or clinic across the world. Designed to sequence the entire human genome in just a few hours for under $1000, this genome sequencing system holds out great promise for educational institutions as well. It is also fuelling the uptake of sequencing in healthcare, agriculture, and the direct-to-consumer markets. In an exclusive interview, Mr. Rothberg talks about the groundbreaking potential of the world's fastest-selling genome sequencer 1) What are the key features of the Personal Genome Machine and how is it ahead of other DNA sequencing products? The Ion Personal Genome Machine (PGM), is an entirely new sequencing technology that directly translates the language of chemistry into the binary language of computers, all on a semiconductor chip. Just a year after launching its first system, Ion Torrent launched its second generation of semiconductor sequencing technology, the Ion Proton Sequencer. It's designed to sequence the entire human genome in just a few hours for under $1,000. The sequencer also addresses a problem that had long kept human genome sequencing out of many labs – the expense and difficulty of data analysis. The Ion Proton Sequencer is designed to analyze a single genome in a few hours– eliminating the informatics bottleneck. Ion semiconductor sequencing technology is affordable to virtually all of the 40,000 research labs and 100,000 clinical labs around the world. Moreover, the compact size and affordable cost allows these instruments to enter the realm of many educational institutions, including colleges with an emphasis on undergraduate education and even high schools. The accessibility also expands the use of genomic sequencing in to allow us to better feed and fuel the world. Just as the semiconductor transformed computing, it is now transforming the life sciences, and health care. 2) In what all ways can PGM revolutionise the global R&D industry and what's the guarantee of its reliability for multifarious use in sectors as diverse as medicine, agriculture, nano and bio technology? For the same reasons that the desktop computer eventually replaced minicomputers and mainframes, semiconductor sequencing is an ideal solution for any biomedical research-based application; the combination of affordability, simplicity, scalability and performance brings an unparalleled advantage compared to other market alternatives. Due to the scalability inherent in semiconductor devices, Ion semiconductor sequencing is breaking the $1,000 dollar genome barrier and further fuel the uptake of sequencing in healthcare, agriculture, and the direct-to-consumer markets. Ion has disrupted and greatly expanded the life science research and molecular diagnostics markets. Ion is penetrating untouched markets by being the low cost leader in supplying both the device and reagents, and delivering the fastest turn around with the most flexibility. 3) What has the market response been to PGM so far? Are you satisfied with PGM or are you trying to better the benchmarks by looking beyond PGM? The Ion PGM sequencer is the fastest-selling sequencer in history. Just a year after launching there are more 1,000 labs and medical centers around the world using the technology every day to change the lives of patients, and the way research is done. Just a year after launching its first system, Ion Torrent launched its second generation of semiconductor sequencing technology, the Ion Proton Sequencer. It's designed to sequence the entire human genome in just a few hours for under $1,000. The sequencer also addresses a problem that had long kept human genome sequencing out of many labs – the expense and difficulty of data analysis. 4) What's your message to the youth aspiring to become scientists? My advice is to work at the intersection of fields. There will always be someone better than you at physics, maths or chemistry, but if you focus on a critical intersection, you can have an advantage. And develop quantitative skills — the ability to do calculations and estimations. Biology is great, but you need analytical skills. It no longer helps simply to describe something. 5) What is the one thing that you would want to do in your lifetime? Have my work save the lives of people I love.