Are We There Yet? (Again)
About exactly a year ago, a blog post on the Archon Genomics X Prize (a $10 million competition to sequence a human genome for $1000) commented on an announcement made by Oxford Nanopore Technologies (ONT) at an annual AGBT conference. The promise was a new, disruptive DNA sequencing platform, capable of delivering fast and cheap human genome sequences. The other players listed were Illumina, Ion Torrent (a Life Technologies company), and Complete Genomics.
Fast forward to today, just a few days after the 2013 AGBT conference ended, the game field seems to have changed: ONT was absent at Marco Island, Complete Genomics is in process of being acquired by the Beijing Genomics Institute, and the X Prize website now lists only two teams who remain in the $1000 genome competition.
While the cost of producing a human genome sequence on a sequencing machine is just a part of the whole “sample to data” process, the Ion Torrent semiconductor technology seems to be on track to achieve the goal. A couple of recent online articles on IEEE Spectrum and Dale Yuzuki’s blog reviewed both the past and the future of this particular platform in detail.
Is 2013 going to be the year of a $1000 genome or should we stay tuned for another 12 months?