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The $1,000 Genome by the End of 2009?

On December 30th, 2007, I blogged the following:

“[A]ffordable whole-genome sequencing is getting closer and closer every day (my prediction – which is based solely on my own educated guess – is that I will be able to sequence my entire genome for $1,000 or less by the end of 2009).”

It was pretty bold at the time, and I’ve since wondered if I was too optimistic, but now comes news that at least one other person agrees with my prediction.  Harvard professor and genetics researcher George Church – also principal investigator for the Personal Genome Project (PGP) – stated at two conferences, one last week and one this week, that by mid-October of 2008, 36-fold coverage of the human genome will be available for $5,000.  Church went on to say that the $1,000 human genome will be available by the end of 2009.

For more information about Church’s statements, see “PGP to Publish Initial Data Sets Next Month As Church Predicts $1,000 Genome in 2009” (registration required) at In Sequence, and a blog post by John Moore of Chilmark Research who attended a “Personal Genomics” session at this year’s EmTech (where Church reiterated the $5,000 and $1,000 hallmarks) .

The Personal Genome Project

At the same Yale University symposium where he discussed the crashing price of sequencing, Church announced that the PGP plans to publish data gathered from the “First 10″ (see here and here for the identities and backgrounds of the First 10) on October 21st at the PGP website.  These 10 volunteers will meet on October 20th to review their data and give permission to proceed.

Also, according to the In Sequence article, Church has indicated that “approximately 5,000 volunteers are currently ‘queued up at the entrance exam stage’” for the next round of the PGP.

Blaine Bettinger

Intellectual property attorney, genealogist, and author of The Genetic Genealogist since 2007