What does the $1000 genome really mean for you?

The cost of genome sequencing is starting to sink into the affordable range. (In comparison to its previous cost. We're talking "within reach" the same way Design Within Reach uses the phrase.)

Companies are starting to claim that a $1000 personal genome sequence is on the horizon. But what does that mean for you? Should you save up and get one? Can it really tell you anything meaningful at all? Who is going to sift through all the information your genome represents — and how will they do it?

Tonight, starting at 7:00 Eastern, Science Online New York City is hosting a round-table to discuss these issues, especially the problems associated with collecting, making sense of, and protecting a massive new stream of personal data. The live event is sold out, but you can watch whole thing streaming online.

Panelists: Ronald Crystal, the Chairman of the Department of Genetic Medicine at Weill-Cornell Medical College, who has had his genome sequenced and analyzed it himself. Virginia Hughes, a freelance author who has written about her experience with the 23andMe genotyping service. Manish Ponda of Rockefeller University, who has experimented with other -omic type analyses.

SoNYC's livestream feed

Via Lou Woodley


  1. And if you don’t have $1000 to get your genome, ask your parents to pay for it!

    (Romney joke fail – edited to make joke more obvious)

  2. IIt may turn out cheaper to have your whole genome sequenced for $1000 and analyze it for the known anomalies than to do all the known tests, some of which are patented and have absurd licensing rates

  3. “The live event is sold out, but you can watch whole thing streaming online.” ~provided no music or video clips are played during the event.

  4. Nah, I’ll wait for the $100 version.  I’m pretty sure my genome won’t change in the next 15 months.   .

  5. There are two conflicting issues which make it hard to know whether or not $1,000 is the price-point to jump at:

    – Generally speaking, the price goes down on technology like this if you wait just a few years;

    – Conversely, governmental regulations are likely to be put in place to protect the rights of for-profit companies to own both the processes and the results, so get your raw data downloaded now while you still can.

    A number of European countries (France and Germany are the biggest) will not allow consumer genome testing without a doctor’s orders.  Similarly, NY state will allow other genome testing but not 23andMe because that company’s test reveals medical SNPs.  You have to mail back your test kit from outside the state or the company can’t accept it.

    No one knows where the various state, national, and international laws are going to be on this issue in future.

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