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The $1,000 Genome Debate is 'Already ... Irrelevant'

Matthew Herper and Daniel MacArthur are at odds over the $1,000 genome. Forbes' Herper argues that even though sequencing is becoming cheaper, analyzing a genome still costs much more than $1,000. Over at Genetic Future, MacArthur responds that as sequencing costs continue to fall, "a substantial niche will develop for innovators providing affordable, intuitive, accurate interpretation tools."

On his blog, John Hawks says that "the inevitability of the $1,000 genome has already made it irrelevant." He expects a $1,000 genome will be announced sometime this year and whole-genome sequencing at 4x coverage for less than $100 by the end of 2014. "I think there's a good chance they will be less than $50 at that time," Hawks says of human genomes. As sequencing gets cheaper, he adds, there will be "an expensive, professional class of genome interpretation" for everything from medical applications to personalized genealogical consultation services. "Genomes may not be literally too cheap to meter, but they'll certainly be, as George Church has suggested, free with additional purchase," Hawks says.

HT: Razib Khan at Gene Expression

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