Illumina Achieves Many Firsts With the NovaSeq Sequencer


Illumina, the leader in genome sequencing has announced its newest model of gene sequencer that costs under a million dollars, and is able to sequence entire human genome in one day at a cost of under $100 (allegedly).

Illumina announced NovaSeq at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco, successor to the highly successful HiSeq. It’s able to sequence the entire human genome in an hour as opposed to a day that it took on the previous leader, HiSeq. It costs under a million dollars and will be available to buy from next month.

CEO Francis deSouza might have exaggerated when he claimed at the event that the new machine could sequence the entire human genome under $100. The company didn’t list the cost of reagents, hence we will be taking this with a pinch of salt. Nonetheless, we are intrigued even with the possibility of a $100 human genome.

Other caveats are the fact that even if the cost and time are reduced drastically, the time taken to join these puzzle pieces and analyze the code will run into weeks.

Early Adopters


Companies who are already onboard include the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, the life sciences research engine launched by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, companies Regeneron and Human Longevity Inc. and Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard along with its own spinout Grail. Grail will be launching a liquid biopsy based DNA test for cancer that will heavily depend on NovaSeq’s sequencing poweress.

Other Announcements

Illumina  also also its partnership with Bio-Rad Laboratories to work on single-cell genomic analysis with the aim of unlock the intricacies of complex diseases. The third announcement was the onboarding of IBM’s cognitive intelligence, Watson to BaseSpace integrating with Illumina’s TruSight Tumor 170, a tool used to help match very sick cancer patients with drugs that might help them.

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