Genome sequencing process for $1,000 has been the dream of many geneticists for years. This year however, that dream has finally become a reality, thanks to the HiSeq X Ten sequencing platform. The new platform is a combination of 10 separate machines all comprising a unique system that will bring affordable genome sequencing to the masses. 

The machine was created by Illumina Inc., and it incorporates the latest technologies to allow high speed genome sequencing at lower costs. In fact, a single lab equipped with the HiSeq X Ten will be able to process thousands of genome sequences in a single year. A number of labs and institutions are already lining up for the new system including the Garvan Institue of Medical Research in Australia, the Broad Institute in Massachusetts and the South Korea-based organization Macrogen.

Genome sequencing opens up a world of possibilities in medicine. With the HiSeq X Ten, rare diseases that would otherwise be almost impossible to detect can be diagnosed early on. Moreover, affordable genome sequencing also means that researchers will have both the means and the finances to carry out cutting edge research in cancer, genetics and a wide variety of other medical fields.

The new machine will bring down the average cost of sequencing making the process 10 times cheaper compared to previously available methods. Due to the speed at which the machine can operate, labs will be able to work on an estimated 20,000 genomes in a single year at full capacity. While the real world results can be assumed to be less than that, it is still a dramatic improvement over current processes. It can be hard to believe that just a few years ago, the cost of sequencing a single human genome ran at around a quarter of a million dollars. Today, scientists can run as many tests as they want on a variety of cancer genomes to finally figure out a cure for some of the deadliest diseases around.

"For the first time, it looks like it will be possible to deliver the $1,000 genome, which is tremendously exciting," said Eric Lander, founding director of the Broad Institute and a professor of biology at MIT. "The HiSeq X Ten should give us the ability to analyze complete genomic information from huge sample populations. Over the next few years, we have an opportunity to learn as much about the genetics of human disease as we have learned in the history of medicine."

Currently, the price of a HiSeq X Ten platform is about $10 million. Each individual machine costs around $1 million. However, all 10 machines are required for the system to function properly. Aside from the HiSeq X Ten, Illumina has also announced another smaller machine called the NextSeq, which comes with a $250,000 price tag. The smaller machine, which can easily fit on a tabletop, is a scaled down version of the bigger HiSeq X Ten. The smaller variant can process one genome at a time but the lower cost means that smaller hospitals, universities and research centers will be able to afford it.

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