Using the same technology today (2008), some people have estimated it would be 5 times cheaper, around $100 million. However, a big biotechnology company called Illumina, based in San Diego California, claim to be able to sequence an indviduals genome for just $100,000.
They can do this thanks to some British technology in the shape of the Solexa Genome Analyzer which came from an idea developed in the Chemistry department at the University of Cambridge. Illumina bought Solexa.com for the bargain-basement knock-down price of $65m (check video link below, not sure how accurate this is) $650 millon (see comments below).
Obviously, $100,000 is still a lot of money, making personal genomics the preserve of the rich, famous and well-connected. The prohibitively high cost of genome sequencing means that only the likes of Jim “Jimome” Watson and George Church can afford to peek inside their own personal blueprint.
Thanks to the challenge laid down by the Archon X-Prize, in the not too distant future we might see the cost of a genome falling to just $10,000 and maybe as low as $1000 (see references below). That’s 500,000 times cheaper and would make it affordable for many more people. Jason Bobe of The Personal Genome Project (PGP) thinks that this falling cost means we could have as many as 50 million personal genome sequences by 2015. Not so much THE human genome, but your genome.
Some of the statistics above come from Clive G. Brown who is currently busy producing 50-100 gigabases of high quality sequence data per week, working at what is currently the largest sequencing centre in the world, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. Clive presented these figures in a talk: “The Solexa story” at a BBSRC workshop on the Technology Development Research Initiative (TDRI).
When it comes to the cost and volume of DNA sequencing, numbers speak louder than words. So, if the numbers were more affordable, would you want to have your genome sequenced? See Genomes Unzipped, Sequencing Costs and the disruptive power of cheap DNA sequencing for further details…
- Finishing the euchromatic sequence of the human genome (2004) Nature. 2004 Oct 21;431(7011):931-45. DOI:10.1038/nature03001, pubmed.gov/15496913
- Clyde A. Hutchinson, III (2007) DNA sequencing: bench to bedside and beyond, Nucleic Acids Resesarch; 35(18): 6227–6237. DOI:10.1093/nar/gkm688, pubmed.gov/17855400
- Elaine R. Mardis (2006) Anticipating the $1,000 genome Genome Biology 7(7): 112. DOI:10.1186/gb-2006-7-7-112 and pubmed.gov/17224040
- The Finished Human Genome – Wellcome To The Genomic Age, Sanger Press Releases: 2003-04-14
- The “finished” human genome, Gold Standard sequence, Sanger Press Releases: 2004-10-20
- Yours Truly (2007) DNA mania
- Emily Singer  The $100 genome MIT Technology Review April 17, 2008
- Various Googling the Genome: The ability to digitally store, and search, personal genetic data raises a series of difficult ethical questions, Googling the Genome with TraceSearch, Really Googling the Genome and Matt Wood @ The Sanger on Zillionformatics
[Dollars! picture by Pfala]
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.