Iâ€™ve talked about the personal genomics company Knome here at TGG a number of times.Â The company is one of the few, if not only, entity offering customers the opportunity to receive their entire genomic sequence.Â After paying for sequencing, customers receive their genetic sequence on an 8-gigabyte USB drive in an engraved silver box.Â The USB is encrypted and contains special genome browsing software (KnomeXplorer).
The Cost of Sequencing Crashes
According to an article at MSN Money entitled â€œ$99,000 to see your future?,â€ Knome recently lowered the price of sequencing from $350,000 to $99,000.Â This isnâ€™t very surprising considering how quickly the cost of sequencing is dropping.
From the article:
“Just to give you some context, the U.S. government finished sequencing the first genome in 2003, and it took 13 years and about $3 billion,” says Jorge Conde, the 31-year-old CEO of Knome. “We’re now at the point that we can do it for $99,000 in three months. Our goal is to eventually be able to offer this to a large segment of the population for around $1,000.” (Just a year ago, Knome was asking $350,000 for its services.)
The article also suggests that 95% of the $99,000 is for non-sequencing services:
Knome hopes more customers will sign up for its pricey, personalized service — and with good reason. George Church, the head of the Personal Genome Project at Harvard, says that the actual cost of physically mapping a genome is currently only about $5,000.Â “Knome is adding a considerable amount of value in the form of security, personalized interpretation, presentation and education,” he says.
In addition to the sequencing information, the USB drive & silver box, and the software, customers also takes part in a â€œgenomics roundtableâ€ to meet with geneticists and other professionals to learn more about genomics and their own genome.Â Even so, $94,000 seems a little pricey for this additional information.Â Iâ€™m surprised that Church revealed the actual cost of the sequencing, but Iâ€™m encouraged by the incredibly low price.
A $1,000 Genome by December 31, 2009?
Iâ€™ve predicted that I will be able to purchase genome sequencing for $1,000 or less by December 31, 2009.Â Think Iâ€™ll make it?