Whole Genome Sequencing Costs Continue to Drop

Whole Genome Sequencing Costs Continue to Drop

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted February 11, 2008 in DNA Inventions and Gadgets, DNA Testing, DNA in General

money ben franklinsOne of the cheapest going prices for whole human genome sequencing has been set by Illumina at $100,000 with completion time of less than four weeks. Last year, 454 Life Sciences claimed a complete sequence in two months at around $1 million.

While Illumina and 454 Life Sciences (Roche) are considered by some to be leaders of the pack, Dr. Jonathan Eisen of The Tree of Life says competitors are emerging, including ABI and Helicos. Helicos BioSciences has received its first order for the Helicos Genetic Analysis System that includes HeliScope Single Molecule Sequencer, the HeliScope Analysis Engine, and the HeliScope Sample Loader.

Even as sequencing becomes cheaper and more efficient, Dr. Eisen reminds us of two considerations: data management and analysis as well as linking gene sequence to function. Writing from the Advances in Genome Biology and Technology conference in Marco Island, FL, Dr. Eisen:

Function and process have been replaced by terms like “systems biology” and “SNPs” and “networks” and “massively parallel.” We have in a way regressed in terms of treating organisms (or communities) as a black box. Fine scale detail has been lost in a sea of data.

Regardless, the big race now is towards the $1,000 genome and the Archon X PRIZE for Genomics. The first team to sequence 100 human genomes in 10 days for $10,000 or less per genome will win $10 million.

To aid in the sequencing of genomes, Pacific Biosciences aka PacBio is developing a “transformative DNA sequencing platform.” Their machines can read more bases at one go than others.

  • PacBio – 1,000+ bases
  • Human Genome Project – 800+ bases
  • Illumina – 30-50 bases
  • 454 Life Sciences – 200 to 450 bases

PacBio expects to begin selling machines in 2010 with second-generation machines that can perform $1,000 whole genome sequencing available in 2013. The New York Times has a profile of the company and their technology (Dr. Eisen has more). Other companies mentioned were Intelligent Bio-Systems, NABsys, VisiGen Biotechnologies, and Complete Genomics.

holy grailVentureBeat’s David Hamilton :

Although the “$1,000 genome” is a purely arbitrary goal, it’s become a Holy Grail of sorts for the genomics field. (The startup Knome, which we covered here, currently offers full-genome sequencing for $350,000.) Cheap, fast sequencing of all six billion DNA “letters,” or bases, in humans could make it possible, for instance, for doctors to better tailor treatments to a patient’s own genetic quirks or to identify the specific weaknesses of tumor cells. More broadly, it would also vastly increase our understanding of the genome, which has turned out to be a much more mysterious realm than just about anyone expected only a decade ago, and illuminate the ways DNA varies between individuals, groups and even among cells and tissues within a single individual.

There’s obviously a lot of DNA sequencing going on and it’s not limited to the US. Medical Solutions has become the UK’s first commercial provider of Illumina’s DNA sequencing and genotyping platforms – Genome Analyzer and Infinium on the BeadStation platform, respectively.

For those preparing themselves to have their whole genome sequenced, I recommend following Misha Angrist’s lead – So You Want To Know Your Genome .

NB: Jonathan Eisen, David Hamilton, Misha Angrist, and I are all members of The DNA Network .



Related Posts:
deCODE CEO Predicts Downswing in Personal Genomics Market...
Personal Genome Sequencing Company Knome Launches...
Craig Venter on the Sinfest Forum...
China Now Exporting Genomic Biotechnology...
DNA Direct Launches DNA Archive for Home DNA Storage...
Get Your Personal Genome Decoded Here...
What comes after genome sequencing?...

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Comment by Barry Starr Subscribed to comments via email

I wonder what this will do to companies like Knome? I think I’ll wait a year or two to have my genome sequenced so i can save some money to send the kids to college!

Barry, I expect Knome will eventually lower its price but it won’t be on par to the figures we’re seeing here. First, there’s gotta be some mark-up on the lab services. Second, the most valuable service companies can offer is personalized reports and other personalized interpretation and plans. Personalization, as Kevin Kelly says, is the eventual aim.

Comment by Amber Rost Subscribed to comments via email


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[...] You can find more on the dropping cost of re-sequencing on Eye on DNA: Whole Genome Sequencing Costs Continue to Drop. [...]


[...] You can find more on the dropping cost of re-sequencing on Eye on DNA: Whole Genome Sequencing Costs Continue to Drop. [...]

Comment by online doctor

A lot of DNA sequencing going on indeed. However, it really is an exciting opportunity as the author in the article you suggested said. Its up to all of us (doctors and patients) to make sure that teachable moment is realized.


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