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As Next-Gen Sequencing Market Matures, Users Mull the '$1,000' Genome

The original version of this article neglected to fully identify Michael Rhodes, who is ABI’s applications manager for high-throughput discovery.
NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — It will be a while before any new sequencing technology platform delivers the $1,000 genome, but that hasn’t stopped researchers from mulling how or when that milestone might occur.
At Cambridge Healthtech Institute's conference on Next Generation Sequencing Technologies, held last week in San Diego, a roundtable discussion entitled “The $1,000 Genome: Are We There Yet?” gave industry and academic players a forum to discuss the issue. 
According to Michael Egholm, vice president of molecular biology at 454 Life Sciences, it currently costs around $1 million to do that kind of project on his company’s instrument, and “people who can afford to do that are interested,” he said.
Egholm predicted that cost will drop to between $10,000 and $100,000 by 2010 “if not before,” which is “going to be very attractive” to many.
Jay Shendure, a researcher in the department of genetics at Harvard Medical School and roundtable panelist, predicted it will cost around $25,000 to sequence a human genome by 2010.
These predictions are less optimistic than the results of a recent CHI survey, which found that one-third of approximately 100 respondents who CHI identified as “active in or following the field” said they believe the cost will come down to between $10,000 and $25,000 by 2010. Around half said it will be lower than that.
How valuable will the $1,000 genome be? Bob Strausberg, deputy director of the J. Craig Venter Institute, said researchers should first sequence a “considerable number” of human genomes before deciding how informative whole-genome sequence will be. He mentioned that the Venter Institute is currently re-sequencing Craig Venter’s genome.
Already today, genotyping arrays “can tell you most of the common SNPs for $1,000,” Shendure pointed out, and it remains to be seen how much meaningful information whole-genome sequencing can add to that.
What would the panelists do with a $1,000 genome technology? For Shendure and Strausberg, applications in cancer genomics would be most interesting. Meantime, Michael Rhodes, ABI’s applications manager for high-throughput discovery, said he would like to “sequence everything that’s on the Earth.”

The complete version of this article appears in the current issue of In Sequence, a GenomeWeb Daily News sister publication.

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