Human Genome Project
U.S. Department of Energy

HGP Research Area: Sequencing Technologies

Graph of cost per base in dollars and quality bases sequenced in billions from 1996 to 2004. As time goes by, cost per base decreases while quality bases sequenced increases.

Increasing throughput while reducing sequencing cost was a primary goal of the HGP. Solving this problem helped accelerate the completion of the HGP.

Although sequencing capacity was far greater in 1998 than at the inception of the HGP, achieving project sequencing goals required a two- to threefold improvement. Further incremental advances in sequencing technologies, efficiency, and cost were accomplished. For future sequencing applications, planners emphasize the importance of supporting novel technologies that may be 5 to 10 years in development.

Sequencing Technology Goals

  • Continue to increase the throughput and reduce the cost of current sequencing technology.
  • Support research on novel technologies that can lead to significant improvements in sequencing technology.
  • Develop effective methods for the advanced development and introduction of new sequencing technologies into the sequencing process.
AreaHGP GoalStandard AchievedDate Achieved
Capacity and Cost of Finished SequenceSequence 500 Mb/year at <$0.25 per finished baseSequence >1,400 Mb/year at <$0.09 per finished baseNovember 2002

Text from F. Collins, Ari Patrinos, et al., “New Goals for the U.S. Human Genome Project: 1998–2003,” Science 282, 682–689 (1998). See HGP Goals for more details on the project’s goals.


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