January 19, 2014 - The cost of sequencing DNA is finally at the $1,000 threshold. The system built by Illumina, a San Diego based company, is called the HiSeq X Ten Sequencing System, and is designed to sequence human DNA specifically. It can do this at rates ten times faster than previous systems producing 5 partial sequences per day and 16 complete sequences in a 3-day period. With four labs equipped with HiSeq X Ten sequencers they could produce more DNA sequences than all current systems have produced to date globally. This is a sea change for genomics and it comes with a price. Illumina is selling its sequencers in 10 packs with a starting price at $10 million U.S. The first four lab customers will receive shipment in the next couple of months.
How will the HiSeq X Ten change the science? Large factory-scale sequencing of human population groups is now possible. Scientists will be able to study mutations, random drift and how natural selection generates diversity including creating causal agents for disease with attendant increased risk to specific populations. By implementing DNA sequencing on a national scale governments will have a better understanding of disease risk and be able to improve healthcare delivery.
The promise of a $1,000 cost for sequencing human DNA has been in the works for awhile. Other developers such as Life Technologies have also been chasing the dream of driving the cost of DNA sequencing to the $1,000 level or lower. The Ion Proton sequencer, which is Life Technologies product, is priced at $149,000 U.S. and can sequence an entire human genome in a day. It is not designed for factory-scale sequencing but is indicative of a trend that says genome sequencing like so many other technologies is within reach of becoming commonly available at an affordable price.
Will we see sequencers in every doctor's office within the decade? Certainly not the HiSeq X Ten, but smaller versions of these machines will become affordable and readily available. Soon when you go for a physical your doctor will offer you the option of mapping your genome. Will you say yes?
Related articles across the web
Essays and comments posted in World Future Society and THE FUTURIST magazine blog portion of this site are the intellectual property of the authors, who retain full responsibility for and rights to their content. For permission to publish, distribute copies, use excerpts, etc., please contact the author. The opinions expressed are those of the author. The World Future Society takes no stand on what the future will or should be like.
Free Email Newsletter
To sign up for Futurist Update, our free monthly email newsletter, enter your email in the box below and click Save.
October 24, 2014 - The Nokia Sensing XChallenge has a goal to transform personal health through sensing technology. A $2.25 million purse is on the line for those organizations whether private or institutional that develop smarter digital health solutions incorporating bio-sensor technology. Sensing can be used for detection, assessment, management and treatment of disease.
What if we made the window into a digital device called a Teleportal? What if that were a two-way network that turns the Earth into a digital room with everyone in it? What if that digital world were you-centered and you gained immense abilities? Could your life’s dreams be as close as your screens? Could we build that fully digital world now, decades before it’s expected?
October 23, 2014 - Back in the 17th century our Sun went through a period in which there was an absence of sunspot activity. Known as the Maunder Minimum it lasted for 70 years.
October 21, 2014 - Don't know the answer. Well it's the people who occupy the biggest building in the world, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
Testing Forecast Repeatability: Before and After Data on the Move from TechCast.org to TechCastGlobal.com
October 20, 2014 - A recent edition of the journal Nature Communications, includes an article entitled,
October 18, 2014 - Think about it. Why would a small island nation that gets 300+ sunny days a year and fairly constant ocean winds import coal, oil, diesel or liquid natural gas to provide power to its citizens? Why would island nations of volcanic origin with active and passive geothermal capacity not be harvesting these resources rather than burning fossil fuels?