What is it?
At AGBT earlier this year Illumina announced their new HiSeq X Ten platform. In addition to bumping up the output specs to 1.8Tb over 3 days, this is the system that finally delivers on the promise of the “$1000 genome” (a term first coined in 2001). It’s able to achieve this breakthrough due to a number of improvements over the HiSeq 2500:
- Patterned flow cells – flow cells manufactured with nanowells in discrete locations allow for greater cluster density
- New clustering chemistry – uses simultaneous seeding and amplification to fill nanowells beyond a typical Poisson distribution
- Faster sequencing chemistry and optics – improvements reduce the ‘per cycle’ time, getting the 2X125b runs down to three days
But this massive output comes with some caveats. In order to prevent this new platform from eroding the rest of their market, Illumina has restricted the HiSeq X Ten to working only with human whole genome research samples. This means no exomes, no RNA-Seq, no other species and no clinical samples. But if you’ve got a lot of human samples, it’s the most cost effective platform available.
How is this transforming research?
So with so many restrictions, how is this technology likely to be used? As the price of next generation sequencing has dropped precipitously over the past decade, more ambitious plans have been created to harvest the power of sequencing on a larger scale. With the latest advancements, researchers are now planning population-level genomics studies. Two such examples are the Genomics England 100K Genome project and the Faroe Genome Project. By expanding the sample number into the several 10s of thousands, these projects hope to tease out the genetic components of cancer, rare diseases and other ailments.
How much does the ‘$1000 genome’ really cost?
There’s been some debate about how much the “$1000 genome” really costs. Fortunately, Illumina was very upfront about how they calculated these costs, so it’s easy to see the breakdown and substitute your own numbers.
But while these calculations are important for an owner of the HiSeq X Ten platform, those who are outsourcing their projects can get a much more concrete number. Via AllSeq’s Marketplace, researchers can access this technology for as little as $1450 per sample. Library prep and data analysis will add about $100 each per sample, bringing the cost up to $1650. By using the Marketplace, researchers will receive bids from multiple X Ten providers, allowing them to pick the best terms (fastest turn around time, easiest shipping, specialty data analysis, etc.) Fill out our simple form on the right and we’ll get you started on your own “$1000 Genome” project right away!