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Speaking at the Consumer Genetics Conference in Boston, Illumina CEO Jay Flatley announced that the company has reduced the price of its retail whole-genome sequencing service to $19,500 from $48,000. Illumina is also offering "a price of $14,500 per genome for groups of five or more participants using the same physician," and says that "individuals with serious medical conditions for whom whole-genome sequencing could provide potential direct clinical value will be eligible for special pricing of $9,500 per genome."

Daniel MacArthur at Genetic Future says that $19,500 "still isn't in the realm of an impulse buy for most of us," but it's "more than an order of magnitude below the $350,000 price paid for the first ever retail genome." Over at Forbes' The Science Business blog, Matthew Herper says "your genome is coming. … Just keep waiting, and soon you'll be able to afford that genome sequence you've always wanted," and opines that Illumina's CGC announcement represents "a stunning drop in price."

On a slightly different note, Herper also reports Life Technologies' announcement at CGC, in which the firm outlined "the creation of an alliance of cancer centers that will use gene sequencing to help patients pick treatments," he reports. According to Life Tech, "The [Genomic Cancer Care] Alliance will launch a pilot study aimed at determining whether whole-genome sequencing can better guide treatment decisions across a number of difficult-to-treat cancers.

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