Documenting the Coming Singularity

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Human, know thyself! - Genome Prices Slashed

MSNBC - December 17, 2008, by Alan Boyle
Photo credit: Gary Parker / Complete Genomics

How much does it cost to decode your genome? Last year, the going rate was $1 million. Now prices are plunging - and as a result, the prospects for personalized medicine and other genetic innovations are rising.

To get a sense of how deeply prices are plunging, let's start with the whopping price tag of $3 billion for the Human Genome Project, which produced a composite readout of the DNA code from many donors by 2003.

It took a few years more to publish the first complete genome for a single human - specifically, genetic entrepreneur Craig Venter - at an estimated cost of $70 million to $100 million. Nobel-winning biologist James Watson's genome was also done up last year at a cost of roughly $1 million.

In the past year, genome-decoding has gone commercial - almost to the point of sparking a price war. A 2-year-old company called 23andMe is offering an analysis of 600,000 key DNA markers for $399 (marked down from $999). Other companies - including deCODE and Navigenics - are in the marker-analysis business as well, with services listed at prices ranging from less than $1,000 to $2,500.

You can get your entire 6-billion-base-pair genome decoded by a 1-year-old company called Knome at a cost of $100,000 (slashed from $350,000). And now Complete Genomics is gearing up to provide whole-genome analysis for $5,000 a pop.

Read more>>

Technological Singularity and Futurism is updated often; the easiest way to get your regular dose is by subscribing to our news feed. Stay on top of all our updates by subscribing now via RSS or Email.