Until the beginning of 2008, the cost of sequencing a genome was closely in-line with Moore’s law, a popular observation made by Intel cofounder, Gordon Moore, that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles approximately every 2 years, thereby decreasing the cost of computing power by the same rate. It was in early 2008, with the rise of Next Generation DNA Sequencing (NGS), that everything changed. The Sanger Method, although tried and true for the 30 years prior, had finally met its match. In October 2007, the cost of sequencing 1 Mb of DNA was just under $400 US ($397.09 US, according to the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)). Within 6 months this had dropped to just over $15.00 (NHGRI). Considering that it previously took 2 years for a similar percent decrease, that rate of development is incredible. And then between April 2008 and April 2013 the cost plummeted 250-fold to $0.06 per Mb! In addition to the dramatic reduction in cost, the length of time it takes to sequence DNA is also rapidly decreasing. The first human genome required $3 billion and 13 years to complete. Now multiple human genomes can be sequenced within 2 weeks!
Figure courtesy of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).
Author: Josh Miller, BA, is a Production Scientist at IDT.