Genetic Sequencing for the Masses?

Interactive Chart of DNA Sequencing Costs

Whole genome sequencing is a laboratory process that determines the complete DNA sequence of an organism’s genome at a single time. The process of genome sequencing can give the medical community to shift their focus from reactive medicine to predictive medicine. In using predictive medicine, people are screened thoroughly and in advance, perhaps on the day they are born to find any genetic predispositions to rare diseases. This technological breakthrough has the potential to completely change medical care for the better.

Fortunately, the cost for this process has been dropping dramatically since early 2008. It has even been outpacing Moore’s Law, which states that computing power doubles on average every two years. The National Human Genome Research Institute tracks the costs associated with DNA sequencing performed at the sequencing centers funded by the institute. The cost for sequencing one set of DNA in on September 30, 2001 was $95,263,071, and less than 13 years later the cost for the same service is merely 0.005% of the original cost – $4,904.85. Super impressive.

Interactive Chart of Genetic Sequencing Costs:

While this is great news and there is much promise in the progress that has taken place, I wanted to point out something interesting in the data. The chart below shows the percent change in cost over the previous period. Notice that the every period has a lower price except for one until July 31, 2002, and that is followed by three more periods of increasing cost within the following nine months. One of those periods (1/31/2014-4/30/2014) had a whopping increase of 22.76%. Additionally, the rate of decrease seems to be slowing since late 2011.

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