By the end of the summer , Dr. Church’s research project promises to deliver sequences to its first 10 volunteers. Unlike Dr. Watson, whose complete genome cost $1 million, the project’s volunteers will receive the one percent of their genome currently deemed most useful at a cost of $1,000.
One start-up company, 23andme, recently announced plans to provide affordable chunks of their DNA to individual consumers, along with tools to help them keep track of and understand their genetic information.
And technology companies like Illumina, Applied Biosystems and 454 Life Sciences, which solicited Dr. Watson’s DNA to prove its abilities, say the price of a complete human genome has already dropped to $100,000. They are competing for a $10 million “X prize” to sequence 100 human genomes within 10 days.