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Solexa Readies 1G Genetic Analyzer

By Kevin Davies

Feb 15, 2006 | Solexa, one of the firms vying to crack the $1,000 genome threshold, has officially launched its first commercial genome sequencing instrument. Company executives claim that the 1G Genetic Analyzer can resequence a human genome for about $100,000 in three months.

The announcement coincided with the launch of The Cancer Genome Atlas pilot project, expected to boost the development of new and improved sequencing technologies (see Cancer Genome Atlas Project Launches, page 20).

“The versatility and cost profile of our groundbreaking Solexa Genome Analysis System have the potential to improve productivity significantly at the largest sequencing and expression centers as well as at core facilities and even individual laboratories,” said CEO John West. “This product introduction takes us a significant step closer to becoming the first company to deliver whole human genome sequencing at $100,000 per genome.”

Solexa will also sequence a complete human genome selected from the anonymous samples used in the HapMap project. Solexa’s chief scientist, David Bentley, said: “We expect this endeavor to display the suitability of our platform for rapid and cost-effective human genome sequencing and to pave the way for new applications in medical sequencing.”

Of the $100,000 figure, West said: “The human genome is 3 billion bases, and for resequencing you want 15x coverage. So you need 45 billion bases. If it takes two days to do each run, that’s 90 days. So about one-quarter of a year to do a genome at that level on one machine... The pricing on the flow cells starts at $3,000 coming down to $1,000. So 45 flow cells would be $45,000. If you take the instrument price and depreciate that over five years, then you’re talking about dividing $400,000 over five years, one-quarter, or about $20,000.”                         

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