"The efforts are aimed at speeding the rate at which the next generation of sequencing technologies become available in the scientific lab and the medical clinic," said NHGRI Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. "Not only will these technologies substantially reduce the cost of sequencing a genome, but they will provide a quantum leap in the scope and scale of research aimed at uncovering the genomic contributions to common diseases, such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes."
Over the past decade, DNA sequencing costs have fallen more than 50-fold, fueled in large part by tools, technologies and process improvements developed as part of the successful effort to sequence the human genome. However, it still costs about $10 million to sequence 3 billion base pairs ?the amount of DNA found in the genomes of humans and other mammals.
NHGRI's near-term goal is to lower the cost of sequencing a mammalian-sized genome to $100,000, which would enable researchers to sequence the genomes of hundreds or even thousands of people as part of studies to identify genes that contribute to common, complex diseases. Ultimately, NHGRI's vision is to cut the cost of whole-genome sequencing to $1,000 or less, which will enable the sequencing of individual genomes as part of routine medical care. The ability to sequence an individual genome cost-effectively could enable health care professionals to tailor diagnosis, treatment and prevention to each person's unique genetic profile.
The new grants balance NHGRI's sequencing research portfolio by supporting more investigators working on technologies that woul