This interactive illustration by Tyler Lang in SEED magazine tracks the completion of major genome sequencing projects.

In 1995, the 1.8 million basepair genome of H. Influenzae was sequenced after 13 months, at cost of ~$9 million dollars. The final draft of the 2.3 billion basepair human genome was published in 2003, taking 13 years to complete at a cost of ~$3 billion dollars.

Advances in automated DNA sequencing technologies have continued to drive down costs (e.g. reagents, supplies, equipment) while increasing the speed and accuracy of throughput. Companies have been racing to deliver a “$1000 genome.”

Complete Genomics,a biotech company based in Mountain View, has promised to sequence one thousand human genomes by the end of 2009. The expected cost? $5,000 a pop. We’ve come a long way since the sequencing of the first free-living organism.


The future that we all envisage is the day when every infant has their genome sequenced at birth and we utilise that information to optimise health throughout their life. – Andrew Wooten, X PRIZE Foundation [via BBC]

The Archon X Prize for Genomics is offering $10M to the first company that can build a machine sequence 100 genomes in 10 days for $10,000 or less each.