Updated at 10:52 AM, August 28th, 2013
If you’ve got $9,000 handy and a hankering to learn more about your genetic roadmap, here’s your chance.
Partners Healthcare, the largest hospital system in Massachusetts, announced yesterday that complete genomic sequencing is now available to patients. The full test would take 16 weeks, said spokesman Rich Copp, and insurance coverage would be determined on a case by case basis.
Formerly a technique limited to the laboratory, complete genome sequencing maps the 3 billion pairs of DNA in a human’s genome. In recent years, scientific and technical advances have made genetic sequencing available for clinical use.
That’s a far cry from 2006, when scientists were still diagnosing a ”market failure” in providing “rapid, low-cost medical grade genomes.” It was enough to spur the creation of the Archon Genomics X-Prize, which promised a $10 million prize to a team that could sequence 100 genomes in 30 days for less than $10,000 per genome. The X-Prize team ultimately called off the competition, citing commercial interests making the prize incentive superfluous:
What we realized is that genome sequencing technology is plummeting in cost and increasing in speed independent of our competition. Today, companies can do this for less than $5,000 per genome, in a few days or less – and are moving quickly towards the goals we set for the prize. - Peter Diamandis, chairman of X-Prize Committee