How much for that genome?

It is a quiet Saturday morning.  I am slightly hung over.  My scripts are scanning through a genome and I am just sitting here waiting for them to finish with nothing much to do.

So I started thinking.  How much does it actually cost to get a new genome, these days? If I wanted my own genome sequenced, how much would I have to pay and how long would it take to get it?

The (first) human genome project cost about $3 billion (about $300 million for Celera) and took about 10 years (1990 to 2000 for the first assembly, then three more years for completion, but let’s just say 10 here).

Now they want to sequence 1000 humans in three years for $30-50 million. Next generation sequencing techniques lowered the cost of that project by a factor of 10. Of course, it helps a lot to have the original genome to assemble up against as well.

I’ve asked Roald about the price for the first “arab genome”, but I haven’t gotten an answer yet.  I guess he doesn’t work Saturday mornings ;-)

The genomics age

Some people say we are in the “post genomic” age, but really we are just in the middle of the genomics age if anything.  We are seeing an explosion in new genomes sequenced.

From GOLD you can download some statistics on genome projects. Plotting the total number of genomes published against years, you clearly see the explosive increase in data:

It is even more impressive when you consider all genome projects and not just the published genomes so far:

Statistics at NCBI says we have 22 complete Eukaryote genomes, 161 with a draft assembly and 176 in progress. For Prokaryotes the numbers are 749 complete, 540 draft and 676 in progress.

It doesn’t say anything about the cost of sequencing genomes, though, so I don’t know how much the price has dropped over time.

I was a bit surprised to learn that the only mammals considered complete are mouse and man. There are 22 mammals with draft assemblies and another 26 in progress.  Will the draft genomes be completed any time soon?

Author: Thomas Mailund

My name is Thomas Mailund and I am a research associate professor at the Bioinformatics Research Center, Uni Aarhus. Before this I did a postdoc at the Dept of Statistics, Uni Oxford, and got my PhD from the Dept of Computer Science, Uni Aarhus.

3 thoughts on “How much for that genome?”

  1. Yes, it would be wonderful to see the curve for price per genome. So we can try to extrapolate when personal genome sequencing will be affordable.


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