BETHESDA, Md., Wed., Oct. ,4, 2006 The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today announced the latest round of grant awards totaling more than $13 million to speed the development of innovative sequencing technologies that reduce the cost of DNA sequencing and expand the use of genomics in medical research and health care.
"There has been significant progress over the last several years to develop faster and more cost-effective sequencing technologies and, we are committed to supporting these innovative efforts to benefit scientific labs and medical clinics," said NHGRI Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. "These technologies will eventually revolutionize the way that biomedical research and the practice of medicine are done."
Since 1990, NHGRI has invested approximately $380 million to develop and improve DNA sequencing technologies. DNA sequencing costs have fallen more than 50-fold over the past decade, fueled in large part by tools, technologies and process improvements developed as part of the successful project to sequence the human genome. However, it still costs around $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, allowing researchers to sequence the genomes of hundreds or even thousands of people participating in 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 an individual's genome during 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.