Generating a full sequence costs about $1,000, but the price continues to tumble, Church says. Nebula’s business model anticipates that companies and research organizations would be willing to pay for the cost of sequencing, if in exchange they also get some key medical information about the person involved. If that proves to be the case, people would get their genetic information at no cost.
By Richard Harris | NPR
A startup genetics company says it’s now offering to sequence your entire genome at no cost to you. In fact, you would own the data and may even be able to make money off it. Nebula Genomics, created by the prominent Harvard geneticist George Church and his lab colleagues, seeks to upend the usual way genomic information is owned. Today, companies like 23andMe make some of their money by scanning your genetic patterns and then selling that information to drug companies for use in research. (You choose whether to opt in.) Church says his new enterprise leaves ownership and control of the data in an individual’s hands. And the genomic analysis Nebula will perform is much more detailed than what 23andMe and similar companies offer. Nebula will do a full genome sequence, rather than a snapshot of key gene variants. That wider range of genetic information would makes the data more appealing to biologists and biotech and pharmaceutical companies.