Get Your Genome Sequenced for Just $50K

New technology slashes test cost
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2009 4:30 AM CDT
A visitor views a digital representation of the human genome at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.    (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Decoding the first full human genome cost billions, but a professor of bioengineering says he has done it for just $50,000 using technology he helped design, reports the San Francisco Business Times. Stephen Quake sequenced his genetic code using a team of just three people. Only last year, decoding a genome cost $250,000 and required almost 200 people.

Mapping an individual's genetic code helps scientists learn about the role genes play in disease and can help doctors tailor treatments. Quake—who learned that he carries a genetic mutation associated with heart disease—predicts the cost of genome sequencing will continue falling steeply, opening the way for a wave of innovations. "It’s really democratizing the fruits of the genome revolution and saying that anybody can play in this game," said Quake.