By Gregory Snyder

Since the completion of the Human Genome Project less than a decade ago, the cost of sequencing genomes has decreased more than a thousand fold. This cost reduction has been accomplished by the rapid development of a “second generation” of DNA sequencing technologies to replace the methods used in the Human Genome Project. Lowering the cost another thousand fold, to less than $1000, promises to revolutionize medicine by enabling doctors to tailor strategies for disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment to specific risk factors found in a patient’s personal genome. Moreover, low-cost genome sequencing promises to revolutionize basic research, too, by giving unprecedented complete information about the genetic structure of populations, which could yield insight in fields from epidemiology to evolution.