What is the Cost of Human Genome Sequencing?

Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov

Two groups tied in first sequencing a human genome -- the Human Genome Project, funded by the US Department of Energy, and Celera Genomics, a private company. The Human Genome Project took 10 years and cost $3 billion USD (US Dollars), while the Celera genome sequencing project took two years and cost just $300 million USD. Both projects concluded in 2000 or 2001, depending on what is considered a "complete" human genome sequencing.

The costs associated with human genome sequencing have dropped in recent years.
The costs associated with human genome sequencing have dropped in recent years.

The milestone of sequencing the human genome was extremely significant because it gave us a direct description of the code underlying the creation of a human being, even if we only understand small parts of it. The number of genes in the human genome was found to be 20,000-25,000, smaller than predicted. As more genomes continue to be sequenced, our knowledge of their contents increases, as does our ability to apply these findings usefully to personalized medicine.

Scientists have discovered that there are 20,000-25,000 genes in the human genome.
Scientists have discovered that there are 20,000-25,000 genes in the human genome.

Gene sequencing costs have been dropped exponentially since the sequencing of the human genome in 2000. In 2001, the genome sequencing of James Watson, a co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, was completed at a cost of $2 million USD. In 2008, the first full genome sequencing services were sold commercially to customers for a cost of $100,000 USD. By March 2008, one company, Applied Biosystems, completed a human genome sequencing in two weeks for $60,000 USD, the best cost yet. Another company, Intelligent Bio-systems, has developed a system that can sequence a full human genome in 24 hours for $5,000 USD.

If the cost of genome sequencing falls below $1,000 USD, or better yet, $500 USD, many futurists have predicted qualitative changes in the way we do medicine.
If the cost of genome sequencing falls below $1,000 USD, or better yet, $500 USD, many futurists have predicted qualitative changes in the way we do medicine.

A price has been offered for the first to sequence 100 human genomes for $10,000 USD each in ten days or less. The $10 million USD prize, donated by diamond prospector Steward Blusson, will continue to be available until the deadline of 4 October 2013. Many scientists around the world think it is highly likely that the prize will be claimed before the deadline, probably substantially before.

If the cost of genome sequencing falls below $1,000 USD, or better yet, $500 USD, many futurists have predicted qualitative changes in the way we do medicine. If millions of genomes are sequenced and made publicly available, the potential knowledge to be gained for the science of genetics would be massive.

If millions of genomes are sequenced and made available to the public, great knowledge could be gained regarding the science of genetics.
If millions of genomes are sequenced and made available to the public, great knowledge could be gained regarding the science of genetics.
Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov

Michael is a longtime wiseGEEK contributor who specializes in topics relating to paleontology, physics, biology, astronomy, chemistry, and futurism. In addition to being an avid blogger, Michael is particularly passionate about stem cell research, regenerative medicine, and life extension therapies. He has also worked for the Methuselah Foundation, the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and the Lifeboat Foundation.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments

cnumaddukuri

how much time it will take to sequence whole human genome with present available technology and what is the cost?

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register: