This graph shows the incredibly fast decline in costs of sequencing DNA, even compared to Moore's Law, which is an estimate of how quickly computer chips improve. (36)

DNA sequencing is a relatively new scientific field. As of 2012, it has only been 35 years since the development of the first-generation Sanger sequencing method. This was the method used in the Human Genome Project at a total cost of $2.7 billion in 13 years.

However, thanks to ever-improving technology, costs and time needed to sequence the entire human genome is decreasing more than exponentially, to the point where it may cost only $100 dollars to sequence an entire human genome in a day. This development also comes with important consequences and benefits for our society. We will explore many methods which have been developed. In general, DNA sequencing techniques are being pioneered by private companies, rather than government agencies or universities, although it cannot be forgotten that the Human Genome Project by the U.S. government was important in jump-starting these private efforts. In this section, we will present an overview of many innovating companies which have used various approaches towards DNA sequencing. Also, remember that many of these methods are under development and are sure to change. For now, DNA sequencing machines are still mainly for researchers in the lab, though you can get your own DNA sequenced and analyzed. (22)

As you examine all of the methods, you may notice that each method has its own unique approach to DNA sequencing, whether radically different from past methods or simply improving upon previous methods. The privatization of DNA sequencing technologies has led to neck-to-neck competition between companies trying to develop the best sequencing method, which is the main reason why DNA sequencing has been advancing so quickly. However, no single method can yet be considered perfect, and the two tables below summarize the various advantages and disadvantages of all methods discussed. (34) (38)

Click to enlarge the tables.

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