The genomics future is almost now

Stephen Hsu on developments at the Beijing Genomics Institute:

I was floored today when the director of BGI told me they would soon reach a sequencing rate of 1000 (human) genomes per day (so, 10^5 to 10^6 genomes per year is right on the horizon). According to him, they can be profitable at a price of $5k per genome! [Clarification: I later learned this might mean at 10x coverage … not exactly sure, although I tried to get a more precise statement.]

Five years ago I asked Armand Leroi:

[Q] 10) If in 10 years you could purchase your own full genome sequence for a month of your salary, would you do it? (assume privacy concerns are obviated)

[A] Yes.

It looks like I didn’t anticipate the rate of change in this area, as 10 years was also certainly too conservative or pessimistic. Dan MacArthur has given a plausible estimate of ~2 years for the realization of a $1,000 genome, but it looks like we’ll hit a genome at the cost of a month’s salary for a professional person on the order of months and not years.

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