The $1,000 Genome is Coming Sooner than You Think

Here at Isilon, we’re pretty involved in some of the amazing work taking place at leading-edge genomics labs like the Broad Institute, the US Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute, and the Beijing Genomics Institute; where mapping the human genome faster and cheaper than ever before may very well create a cure for cancer, Alzheimer’s, and/or other life-threatening diseases.

Over the past few years, we’ve witnessed a dramatic uptick in the need for scalable storage resources among genomics-focused organizations, as next, and next-next, generation DNA sequencing technologies have doubled, tripled and even quadrupled the amount of information available to researchers. The combination of these ultra-performing sequencers, the rapidly expanding shared knowledge base of research, and scale-out storage resources like Isilon, has dramatically accelerated the rate of discovery in genomics. This, in turn, has brought down the cost of sequencing a genome from millions of dollars to a few thousand. And before you know it, we’ll be able to map our own genomes as easily as getting a blood test. Leading to a new era of predictive, tailored medicine never before possible. If you don’t believe me about how close we are and how far this technology has come, check out

Pretty cool, right?

I wish I could do the subject more justice, but if the idea of genome sequencing being made affordable interests you, Bio-IT World’s Kevin Davies has written a stellar book on the subject, entitled “The $1,000 Genome.” I suggest you check it out. So a massive increase in the amount of genetic information being produced and analyzed leads to increased demand for a storage architecture purpose-built to manage it – and Isilon’s in the right place at the right time. I like to call that strategy … Is genomics another example of big data at work? Maybe it is…

If you’re in the Seattle area and want to hear more about what IT is doing to help genomics and other life science disciplines manage this gusher of information, I definitely recommend Xconomy’s new forum entitled, “Computing in the Age of the $1,000 Genome,” on Monday, Feb. 7. As a matter of fact, our CTO Paul Rutherford is participating in a panel during the forum about how companies like Isilon, Microsoft, Amazon and others can work together to deliver innovative solutions that help life sci do more with their data. Should be an interesting conversation…

If you attend Xconomy’s event, or have thoughts on Davies’ book, I’d love to hear them and am always around @Isilon_Nick, or in the blog comments.

About the Author: Nick Kirsch