Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Life Technologies promises $1,000 genome

On January 10, Life Technologies' CEO Gregory Lucier announced the latest breakthrough in sequencing technology with the launch of the Ion Proton Sequencer, a faster version of its Ion Personal Genome Machine (PGM). The machine is the brainchild of Jonathan Rothberg, former CEO of Ion Torrent, which was bought by Life Technologies of Carlsbad, California, in 2010. The new sequencer uses semi-conductor technology to read DNA sequences, coupled with a dramatic ramp-up in the chip's well density. “[With the old chip] if you took out a human hair and put it over a well, you would cover 400 wells. [On] our new chip, you'll cover 10,000 wells,” says Rothberg. In addition, the new chip moves the hydrogen ion sensor (hydrogen is released when a nucleotide is incorporated into DNA) onto the chip. Unlike light detection technologies that slow down as density increases, with semi-conductors, the rate is faster. “The first chip did a million wells in two hours, the new one will do a billion,” says Rothberg. Although data obtained from the chip won't be released until mid-February, the company reports that a human-sized genome can be sequenced in two hours, at a cost of $1,000 in materials. The new machine will cost $149,000. Within hours of Lucier's announcement, Life Technology's main competitor, Illumina of San Diego, announced an upgrade to their HiSeq 2000 that will sequence a human genome in a day.


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

DeFrancesco, L. Life Technologies promises $1,000 genome. Nat Biotechnol 30, 126 (2012).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Further reading


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing