The Countdown Speeds Up
October 22, 2007, 04:52 PM
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As I mention in my new article, the climactic last two pages of James Watson`s new memoir are devoted to how fast the price of genome sequencing is falling, which, as Watson emphasizes, will make inevitable major breakthroughs in understanding the genetic underpinnings of political hot potatoes like IQ. At FuturePundit, Randall Parker provides some numbers.

An article in The Scientist provides a sense of how much DNA sequencing costs have fallen. At the bottom of that page they show 3 costs from 3 different sequencing instruments for doing a sequencing of the Drosophila fly genome. The established ABI 3730 has a sequencing cost for this job of $650,000. The 454 Life Sciences instrument costs $132,000 for the same job. Big cut in cost, right? But if you paid $132,000 you paid too much. Using the Solexa instrument costs $12,500 for the same job. Wow.

Apparently, Moore`s Law of semiconductors (a doubling every 18 months) is slow compared to the speed of advances in DNA sequencing.