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Genetics

A Personal Genome for $1,000?

21 years, 9 months ago

9539  0
Posted on Oct 23, 2002, 7 a.m. By Bill Freeman

Biotech companies have recently announced that in a few years it will be possible to have your genome sequenced almost immediately. With some going as far as saying that a copy of your genome could be yours to keep for the extremely ambitious price of just $1,000.Susan Hardin, president and CEO of VisiGen Biotechnologies, predicts that her company will have the technology to sequence an entire human genome in just a few minutes within two-to-four years.

Biotech companies have recently announced that in a few years it will be possible to have your genome sequenced almost immediately. With some going as far as saying that a copy of your genome could be yours to keep for the extremely ambitious price of just $1,000.

Susan Hardin, president and CEO of VisiGen Biotechnologies, predicts that her company will have the technology to sequence an entire human genome in just a few minutes within two-to-four years. Meanwhile, Eugene Chen of US Genomics Corporation believes that his company will be offering instantaneous genome sequencing within three or four years.

However, when it comes down to it most consumers probably aren't too bothered whether sequencing their genome will take hours or seconds, the real clincher for them will be the price. Having your genome presented to you on a CD is certainly not cheap. Most experts believe that sequencing will become economically feasible to both consumers and insurers when prices come down to roughly $1000. However, having your genome sequenced courtesy of ex-Celera boss Craig Venter currently costs $621,000. According to Trevor Hawkins of Amersham Biosciences, technologies that will be made available within the next two to three years will make it possible to bring the price of sequencing down to roughly $30,000, however he believes that a totally new type of technology will be needed to bring the cost down any further. Meanwhile Tony Smith of UK company Solexa believes that the $1,000 personal genome is "challenging but feasible", although he declined to predict when it will be available.

The scientists were speaking at a panel discussion called "The Future of Sequencing Technology: Advancing Toward the $1,000 Genome," which was held at the 14th International Genome Sequencing and Analysis Conference.

SOURCE/REFERENCE: Reported by www.the-scientist.com on the 4th October 2002

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