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Complete Genomics Will Sequence Your Entire Genome for $5,000 Starting in 2009

Andrew Pollack at the New York Times wrote an article published today entitled “Dawn of Low-Price Mapping Could Broaden DNA Uses.”  The article is about a start-up company called Complete Genomics which will begin sequencing customer’s genomes for $5,000 starting in the second quarter of 2009.  From the article:

“Complete Genomics will not begin its service until the second quarter of next year. By then, the cost of competing technologies will no doubt have fallen further. Just last week, Applied Biosystems, a leading manufacturer, said it expected that its newest machine would allow a human genome to be sequenced for $10,000, although that includes only the cost of consumable materials, not labor or the machinery.”

The article next mentions Knome, which is still offering complete genomes for $350,000.  I expect that price to drop dramatically within the next few months.  Indeed, as the article points out:

“Complete Genomics will not offer a service to consumers. But it will provide sequencing for consumer-oriented companies like Knome.  Knome is already exploring farming out its sequencing to Complete Genomics. “We anticipate we’d be able to significantly drop our price,” said Jorge C. Conde, the chief executive of Knome, which is based in Cambridge, Mass.”

Interestingly, the company says that they are still making money at $5,000, and hopes to sequence a million genomes by 2013:

“Mr. Reid [the chief executive] said Complete Genomics hoped to perform 1,000 human genome sequences next year and 20,000 in 2010, with a goal of completing a million by 2013. That assumes the company can raise the money and find partners to build 10 sequencing centers at a cost of $50 million each. It also assumes there will be enough demand.”

Will there be enough demand?  What effect will this have on the cost of sequencing by other companies?  What effect will this have on the field of genetic genealogy?

Blaine Bettinger

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

13 Comments

  1. It has always been my personal opinion that businesses in general could make more money by selling at lower prices through sheer volume sales. But, you still have to make it affordable. After Ancestry cut their DNA test prices by half for members a couple months ago, I decided to go ahead and order the tests. I probably never would have done it otherwise.

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  2. It has always been my personal opinion that businesses in general could make more money by selling at lower prices through sheer volume sales. But, you still have to make it affordable. After Ancestry cut their DNA test prices by half for members a couple months ago, I decided to go ahead and order the tests. I probably never would have done it otherwise.

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