More than $18 million in grants to spur the development of a third generation of DNA sequencing technologies was announced today by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). The new technologies will sequence a person's DNA quickly and cost-effectively so it routinely can be used by biomedical researchers and health care workers to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disease.
"NHGRI and its grantees have made significant progress toward the goal of developing DNA sequencing technologies to sequence a human genome for $1,000 or less," said Eric D. Green, M.D, Ph.D., director of NHGRI, one of the National Institutes of Health. "However, we must continue to support and encourage innovative approaches that hold the most promise for advancing our knowledge of human health and disease."
During the past decade, DNA sequencing costs have fallen dramatically fueled in large part by tools, technologies and process improvements developed by the Human Genome Project. NHGRI subsequently launched programs in 2004 to accelerate improvements in sequencing technologies and to further drive down the cost. Last year, the program surpassed the goal of producing high- quality genome sequences of 3 billion base pairs the amount of DNA found in humans and other mammals for $100,000. The cost to sequence a human genome has now dipped below $40,000. Ultimately, NHGRI's vision is to cut the cost of whole-genome sequencing of an individual's genome to $1,000 or less, which will enable sequencing to be a part of routine medical care.
"Next generation sequencing technologies used in laboratories today have allowed significant advances in the scale and scope of biological research," said Jeffery Schloss, Ph.D., NHGRI's program director for technology development. "Still, there are other improvements that remain to be made before such sequencing tools can be used routinely in the laboratory and clinic."
The new grant
|Contact: Geoff Spencer|
NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute