The $1,000 genome could be yours—if you spend $10 million on equipment


Yesterday, the company that leads the field in DNA sequencing machines announced that it was preparing to sell systems that would finally put a major milestone in reach: the $1,000 genome. This is a notable breakthrough as it’s been less than a decade since a genome cost over a quarter-million dollars. While the price may be revolutionary, the system itself is an evolution of existing technology, built up to provide massive economies of scale.

The foundation of the new system is a sequencing machine that improves a bit on the company’s existing hardware, providing more individual sequencing reactions at the same time in each machine (6-8 billion reactions in each machine) and speeding up the actual reactions so that more gets done within a 24-hour period. The system itself then clusters 10 of these sped-up machines. The cluster of 10, according to Matthew Herper at Forbes, will set you back $10 million.

Despite the high cost of entry, however, Illumina claims that the amortized price is included in their $1,000 figure—as are the costs of preparing the DNA and consumables used during the reactions, even the labor needed to get it all to happen. In other words, a single genome will still cost a fortune; buying the system and cranking out genomes nonstop for a few years will mean that the average cost drops to near the $1,000 price tag.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

via Ars Technica


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