The cost of DNA sequencing is going down rapidly making mapping the genome within the next decade almost as inexpensive as a routine blood workup. Current DNA sequencing tests cost, at their cheapest, about $5,000. Ion Torrent, a company founded by Jonathan Rothberg, a chemical engineer, has technology almost go-to-market ready that will drop the cost to $1,000 and provide a complete sequenced genome in 2 hours.
In the March 2012 issue of Popular Science, in the article, “The Next Sequence,” Jennifer Abbasi describes work being done at IBM to develop a $100 sequencer, a chip that uses nanotechnology to read DNA. At $100 a test, DNA sequencing will be open to millions of patients.
Of course sequencing an individual’s DNA is not in itself a method for curing disease. It is sequencing of a group of patients with a common disease that can lead to finding the “smoking gun” within the genetic sequence.