The cost of genomics, revisited

1,000 dollars to sequence the entire 3 billion ‘basepair’ long human genome is the holy grail. Last year, on this blog, I predicted that we’d reach that goal ‘within a year’. Well, it’s been a year and we aren’t there. I did hedge a bit in the comments later, but the main point was that the cost was plummeting and headed for $1,000 for an entire genome. The graph at the left is cost of a single genome from 2003 to 2010… 300 million, to 10 thousand.

The cost is still plummeting. Illumina* has lowered the cost of sequencing the genome to $5,000. Half.Complete Genomics* today announced that their first quarter revenue was 6.8 million, up from 300 thousand last year. They have 2,000 complete genomes to sequence in their backlog. They charge < 10,000 for small orders, down to $5,000 for bulk orders (in research groups). The cost of sequencing large groups for research is getting much smaller.

So the price plummets still.

The price for genomic scans also plummets. 23andMe, which scans about 1 million variable sites in your genome (most of the human genome is not variable from person to person), cost 400 dollars last year, in December they price went to 200. After a one-day free sale, it’s now $100.

Of course, the question remains how expensive will it be to analyze that data.


*full disclosure, I own a (very) small amount of stock in both Illumina and Complete Genomics.