Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Sequence Your Genome For $100,000

Solexa, based in Hayward, Calif., is one of several companies trying to develop methods to determine the sequence of DNA in an organism at less cost and far more quickly than the technology used only a few years ago in the Human Genome Project.

Eventually DNA sequencing might be so cheap that every person would be able to carry around his or her complete genetic blueprint on a DVD or computer chip.

That day is still far in the future. But Solexa is expected to soon begin shipping a DNA sequencing machine that it claims will be able to determine the three billion DNA units in a person’s genome for about $100,000, about one-hundredth the cost of using older sequencers.
That is amazing that the price is already down to $100,000. I wonder what the Moore's law of DNA sequencing looks like.

The thing I have never understood is that the human genome is just one copy of 23 chromosomes while each person has 2 copies. When you are getting your own genome sequenced, I would assume you would do it for both copies. I believe that would be 6 billion DNA units. So, wouldn't having your "genome" sequenced really cost twice as much or $200,000? If anyone knows the answer, please leave a comment.

via New York Times


crush41 said...

Increased computing technology already helps biotech. I presume biotech will accel at a rate greater than that predicted for computing by Moore.

Fat Knowledge said...


I just pulled out the old The Singularity is Near and on page 73, Kurzweil says the base pair/$ sequenced is halving in price every 1.9 years. This is very similar to the rate of 1.8 yrs for processor performance, but a little slower than the 1.5 yrs for Dynamic RAM price or 1.1 yrs in microprocessor cost per transistor cycle.

Of course in 2004 he put the price per base pair at $.02. If the numbers here are correct, this new version would go down to $.000033/bp so that is a 606 times increase in just 2 years!

This NIH press release makes it seem like the $100,000 genome is still 5 years away. I wonder if this version really works.

I would like to learn more about DNA/Gene Chips. I think that technology might be able to read entire genomes for less money that the traditional sequencing method. I haven't been able to find how quickly they are decreasing in price though.

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