Genomics giant Illumina, based in San Diego, pushed forward the race for the fastest sequencing technology with the announcement of its latest machine, called the HiSeq 2000. According to the company, the device can sequence two human genomes at once, completing the process in about a week.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
Running two genomes at once, said [Jay Flatley, Illumina’s chief executive], will enable researchers to run a person’s genome at the same time it runs, for instance, the genome of a cancer tumor taken from the same person. The results could lead to more knowledge about tumors and, scientists believe, match patients with treatments likely to be effective against their tumors.
Complete Genomics, a Mountain View, CA-based company that offers a sequencing service rather than selling instruments, reported last November sequencing three human genomes for an average cost of $4,400 in reagents. However, that company does not yet offer that price commercially. Sequencing costs can be calculated in different ways, and often do not include the cost of analyzing the information, making it difficult to directly compare them.
It’s not yet clear whether Illumina will drop the price of its personal genome sequencing service, which is available with a physician’s prescription for $48,000.
The Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) is the first major buyer of the machines–Illumina says it has purchased 128 HiSeq 2000 sequencing systems, which will be installed in BGI’s new genome center in Hong Kong.