Cost Comparison for 1 Human Genome

Nicholas Wade from the NYT chimes in on the cost of genome sequencing…

A price tag of even $20,000 or so, which now seems attainable in the
next few years, would bring whole genome sequencing within the same
range as other medical procedures…

The first human genome to be completed, by the Human Genome Project in
2003, probably cost about $800 million. Doing a second human genome by
the traditional methods would now cost around $20 million. The two new
methods promise to be much cheaper. Dr. Rothberg says a human genome
could be resequenced now by his method for $1 million. Dr. Church
estimates that he can do a human genome for $2 million now and for
$20,000 in the future.

The two methods differ significantly in the price of equipment.

The DNA sequencing machine now being sold by 454 Life Sciences costs
$500,000. Jonathan M. Rothberg, chairman of the board, says a single
machine does the job of a $50 million sequencing center.

The Harvard machine is even cheaper…The most expensive element is a $140,000, computer-controlled digital
microscope…For labs that already possess such a
microscope, as many do, the equipment costs would be small. All they
need do is follow the free recipe provided by Dr. Church.

Nicholas Wade, 2 New Methods to Sequence DNA Promise Vastly Lower Costs, NYTimes, August 9, 2005.


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