September 26, 2011
Rapid Ramp In Full Genome Sequening: 30,000 In 2011

The rate of full genome sequencing has risen by about 1000 in a couple of years. That's because costs have dropped by orders of magnitude. The rapid cost drop looks set to continue.

This year, the world's DNA-sequencing machines are expected to churn out 30,000 entire human genomes, according to estimates in Nature magazine. That is up from 2,700 last year and a few dozen in 2009. Recall that merely a decade ago, before the completion of the Human Genome Project, the number was zero.

The vast majority of us will be able to afford to get our full genomes sequenced in a few years. Costs are now below $10,000 per genome and in larger quantities below $5,000.

What's needed to most rapidly make all this data useful? Massive comparisons between DNA sequences and details of individual health history, behavior, achievements, and physical attributes. What's needed to gather all this data? Web sites run by companies that provide DNA sequencing services while also doing polls and tests (e.g. personality tests, coordination tests, even scans of pictures uploaded by customers) of their customers to collect all the needed information to compare. Then the companies can use the DNA sequencing data of all their customers to compare and come to useful conclusions for their subscribers.

If regulators (that's you, FDA) would just stay out of the way then crowd sourcing the needed data could be done very rapidly by the private sector. This could cut years off of making discoveries about genetic variants via the traditional academic approach of getting grants and trying to recruit volunteers.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2011 September 26 05:51 AM  Policy Medical

PacRim Jim said at September 26, 2011 7:58 PM:

It will be extremely interesting to see the range of genomes in the 7 billion Homo sapiens.
I suspect we shall be shocked by the diversity.
In fact, we probably will wonder why some people are alive, considering their bizarre genomes.

Also, we are part way to custom genomes based on particularly desirable extant genomes.
For my daughter, I believe I'll have a...

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