Since the Human Genome Project began in 1990 researchers have been working to cut the costs and time associated with sequencing targeted regions and the whole genome. By doing do researchers believe significant advances in therapeutics and diagnostics are possible.
GATC is part of this effort, launching a programme with the goal of re-sequencing a human genome for €500 ($740), and has now advanced its service offering. Clients can now combine any number of samples with any size of targeted region to be subsequently sequenced.
Costs for the deep sequencing of specific regions on a large number of samples have come down in recent years, with GATC describing the procedure as “affordable and within reach”.
GATC has achieved these advances using enrichment technologies from Agilent and Roche’s GS FLX and Illumina’s Genome Analyzer IIx sequencing systems. For instance, by using the SureSelect Human All Exon Kit from Agilent GATC can perform transcriptome analysis.
In addition sample tagging and barcoding helps to decrease sequence costs. GATC also offers complete human genome re-sequencing and performs bioinformatic analysis using mapping, SNP / inDel and visualisation.
The services are performed for industry and academia using eleven sequencing instruments. GATC describes itself as “Europe’s leading service provider of DNA sequencing” and is the first in Germany to complete the Illumina CSPro certification process.
Race to the prize
GATC's goal is to be able to deliver a quality data set for €500 in 10 years and is one of a number of companies attempting to cut the costs of human genome sequencing. Illumina, which supplies some of GATC’s equipment, is also part of the effort and hopes to reduce the cost to $1,000 per person.
If costs fall to this extent it will allow researchers to conduct studies comparing thousands of genomes. Further advancements still need to be made but the costs have already fallen significantly from the billions of dollars that were needed for the Human Genome Project.