In November 2011, BGI Research Institute launched the 3-Million Genomes Project, which is made up of the Million Plant and Animal Genomes Project; the Million Human Genomes Project; and the Million Microecosystem Genomes Project.
In February 2013, BGI had already claimed to have sequenced 50,000 whole human genomes.
With a U.S. nonprofit, Autism Speaks, BGI is being paid to sequence the DNA of up to 10,000 people from families with autistic children. For researchers in Denmark, BGI is decoding the genomes of 3,000 obese people and 3,000 lean ones.
BGI has also sequenced 115 different kinds of cucumbers.
It would seem that BGI could fulfill the 3 million genome project by sometime around 2014-2016.
In June, the UK announced the formation of Genomics England, a company set up to execute the £100 million project. They are targeting 100,000 whole human genomes sequenced by 2017. The sequencing centers will be ready by 2015, when the project kicks off in earnest. “Then we will be sequencing 30,000 whole-genome sequences a year,” says Caulfield.
The US national human genome research institute provides the above chart of costs of whole genome sequencing.
When the $100 whole genome sequencing price is reached then spending $1 billion per year for large scale sequencing will produce 10 million whole genomes. There would be even more genomes of simpler organisms which have shorter sequences.
Companies continue to race to next generation sequencing technology
Next generation sequencing (NGS) is a disruptive technology that allows scientists to sequence and assemble millions to billions of short DNA reads. This technology is used for applications such as whole genome sequencing, whole exome sequencing (1-2% of the genome that actually encodes proteins) or expression profiling. NGS is the fastest growing and the most attractive segment of the $7.1B genomics space (manufacturer market).
With an estimated market size of -$1.2B in 2012, and a double digit growth rate, we forecast this market will reach $2.1B in 2015, driven by adoption in non-academic customers, especially clinical customers. NGS is poised to revolutionize not only medical research in academic laboratories and Biopharma, but also the healthcare landscape and applied markets (e.g., AgBio, food testing)
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Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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