Register for an account


Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.


Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.


Personal genome ~ home mortgage?

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanSeptember 8, 2008 10:03 PM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Is a personal genome sequence worth $350,000?:

Basically, we're currently at a stage where costs are dropping much faster than the rate at which the value of genetic information is increasing - in other words, you and I will be able to afford a genome sequence long before science will be able to tell us much about what it really means. However, the beauty of a genome sequence is that (unlike 23andMe-style chips, which are constantly being replaced by higher-resolution models) it never becomes obsolete. Once you have your entire sequence sitting on your hard drive you can simply sit back and wait for new associations and techniques for assigning function, which will soon be appearing at an exponentially increasing rate as technology improves.

In other words, the data appreciates. But unlike buying a home mortgage, there is going to be a mass drop in the cost in the near future. This figure illustrates the point effectively. To some extent then the analogy to the housing market breaks down. In many regions of the world fixed stock of land means that values will increase over the long term (since populations and per capita purchasing power are increasing) so "getting in early" makes sense. Rather, it's like buying a Kindle; everyone is going in that direction at some point but early adopters are going to pay a premium for gaining access to that utility bundle before the rest of us. Of course, the very fact that we're mooting these choices says something about the state of the game.

    3 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.


    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 70%


    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In