Tuzla’s citizen succeeded in USA: Company of Mirza Cifrić decodes human DNA for less than 1,000 dollars

Rector's Office
Tuzla, 10 November 2017



Mirza Cifrić, from Tuzla is the executive director and co-founder of the Vertias Genetics Company from Boston, which does sequencing and interpreting of the human genome for a price less than $ 1,000. His experiences in the USA, Mirza Cifrić presented today to the students of the Faculty of Medicine in Tuzla, and students besides new knowledge gain an opportunity for further professional development.






Mirza Cifrić gained a Diploma of an Engineer in the United States, and after that he worked in the medical sector which led him to sequencing of the DNA and biotechnology. Veritas Genetics is a multinational company with offices in the US, Europe and China, which has been recognized twice by the prestigious MIT Technology Review magazine as one of the 50 Smartest Companies in 2016 and 2017.

‘Perhaps the best analogy in all this was computers in the 1980s of the last century. Namely, the sequencing of the first human genome cost $ 3 billion. The price of decoding DNA in the last 15 years has fallen below one thousand dollars. Therefore, by the beginning of the 1980s we had huge computer and hardware rooms. After that came the desktop computer we all have, and people were able to program and make new software by themselves. This is now happening in genetics. For a thousand dollars the desktop sequencer can analyze the entire human genome. In our company we can analyze 48 genomes in three days, ‘said Cifrić.

 The general application of the sequencing of the genome, according to him, will change the complete medicine, biology, food industry, fuel industry ... ‘I am here to show that everything is available and we have the opportunity to be leaders here to skip other European countries. Human cells are now treated as hardware, and DNA as software. One explanation about how this technology is changing the world is what it done with cells. We can now take the cell, change it DNA and bring it back. It could not be done five years ago, but now it is possible. It is no longer too expensive or impossible to do, ‘added Cifrić. One of the examples is the production of human organs in the pig's body. ‘With genetic modification, we can exclude an immune system of animals, specifically pigs, and create human organs in it. These organs were not able to be transplanted, because the immune system did not allow it, but now genetic modification can create organs for a particular person. With this technology, it's not far away a moment when we will extend human life to 115 or 120 years, ‘explained Cifrić.

The Rector of the University of Tuzla Nermina Hadžigrahić welcomed Mirza Cifrić at the Faculty of Medicine.
 ‘I'm sure we will achieve cooperation. Not only that our students of the final years engage in scientific research in cooperation with Mirze Cifrić Company, but also in terms of establishing some institutions that will provide new opportunities at the university, ‘ said Rector Hadžigrahić.


(untz.ba / tuzlanski.ba)