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Genome Mapping Gets Cheaper

Audio

Aired 6/7/10

The San Diego biotech company Illumina has cut the cost of its full genetic sequencing. Mapping the entire human genome cost about $3 billion ten years ago, when it was first done. But today, Illumina is offering its customers a full genome scan for under $20,000.

— The San Diego biotech company Illumina has cut the cost of its full genetic sequencing.

Mapping the entire human genome cost about $3 billion ten years ago, when it was first done. But today, Illumina is offering its customers a full genome scan for under $20,000. That's down from the $48,000 Illumina charged just a year ago. Company CEO Jay Flatley announced the news at the Consumer Genetics show in Boston. He said the price drop is made possible by technological advances that speed the process. Flatley said scanning your whole DNA becomes more valuable as time goes on and science learns the functions of more and more genes.

"So, essentially, it's a complete encyclopedia of you that you only have to do one time," Flatley said.

Most consumers who are curious about their DNA purchase genotype tests that check a few genetic markers that indicate risks of certain diseases. Flatley said so far, only 30 consumers throughout the world have purchased full genome scans.

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