The US National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) is ploughing more than $20 million into new genetic sequencing technologies.

A series of grants announced on 20 August are the latest step in the institute's drive to bring down the cost of sequencing. The money will support projects such as the development of nanopores. These structures could, it is hoped, identify DNA bases threaded through them from variations in the bases' ionic or electrical properties. The largest grants will go to Daniel Branton and Jene Golovchenko of Harvard University, who are developing this technology, and Mostafa Ronaghi of Illumina in San Diego.

Jeffrey Schloss, director of the NHGRI's technology-development programme, says that the institute's goal of a $1,000 genome by 2014 "is still realistic".