W

hen Illumina announced on Monday that it will begin shipping its two newest DNA sequencing machines as soon as March, president and CEO Francis deSouza said the technology “will enable the $100 genome.” That raised some questions:

$100 — really?

A $100 genome will cost $100 in the same way that the $1,000 genome costs $1,000. As in, it won’t, at least not soon. “The $1,000 genome” — which sequencer makers began promising about five years ago — “costs us $3,000,” said Richard Gibbs, founder of the Baylor College of Medicine Human Genome Sequencing Center and one of the leaders of the original Human Genome Project in the 1990s.

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