Mountain View, CA-based Complete Genomics says that by next year it will be able to map the complete human genome for just $5,000--an enormous drop in price from the $100,000 to $350,000 currently charged by other companies. While companies like 23andMe and deCODE now offer testing for between $399 and $1,000, those test are just a surface look at a person's full DNA. "They are like having the CliffsNotes to Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace rather than the actual novel," notes article author David Ewing Duncan.
Understanding the genetic code is seen as the key to unlocking mysteries about human diseases, many of which have a genetic basis. "The ability to compare a significant number of genomes of people with a disease against those without the disease is central to enabling drug discovery and the development of new diagnostics," explains Harvard geneticist and Complete Genomics' board member George Church, a member of Complete Genomics' scientific advisory board.
The company won't be targeting the consumer market. Instead it will sell its technology to pharma companies, researchers and businesses that offer genetic testing, such as Knome. Knome, which now offers consumers complete genome sequencing for $350,000, says it may talk with Complete Genomics about adopting its technology for the public market.
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