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Ever Want to Sequence Your Genome? Illumina Wants to do it For Just $100!

Jan 17, 2017 09:35 AM EST
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The first ever time the human genome was sequenced was done in 2003. At the time, it cost as much as $2.7 billion. However, DNA sequencing today wouldn't be that expensive. Sequencing giant Illumina now has a new machine where the company expects to "one day" make your own genome for less than $100.

Illumina CEO Frank deSouza showed off this NovaSeq onstage at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in downtown San Francisco. According to Tech Crunch, he told the crowd that the machine's scanning speed can decipher an entire genome in less than an hour.

This means that it's been less than 15 years since what took billions of dollars and a decade of research to achieve. And now, we can only do it in an hour's time, at what appears to be less than 10 percent of the cost.

But the price for genome sequencing has been continuously dropping. In 2006, Illumina's machine could sequence a human genome for $300,000 and last year it announced the same for $1,000.

In a report from Stat News, the rapid reduction in costs radically helped researchers in clinical studies. However, an even greater speed and a lower starting price may entice health startups to jumpstart their researchers.

A lot of clinics and researchers have already been able to access genetic data in cancer research and other diseases, but consumer interest in this research also rose due to tests from startups such as 23andMe and AncestryDNA.

The San Diego-based company Illumina plays a huge role in many of these direct-to-consumer tests. If you've had your DNA sequenced by 23andMe, it's probably via Illumina's machines.

According to the Illumina website, these machines already cost a couple hundred dollars and the lowered cost and higher speed would give them the ability to process faster and bring in more customers. The NovaSeq 5000 can be bought for $850,000 and the NovaSeq 6000 for $985,000. 

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