MIT Technology Review has one of those articles about the exponential growth rate in the number of people who have been fully sequenced. There’s nothing too exceptional in the piece. You do have to be careful about 10 year projections, especially if they’re exponential. But this part caught my eye: ” At this exponential pace, by 2020 it may be feasible—mathematically, at least—to decode the DNA of every member of humanity in a single 12-month stretch.”
What does that mean? Taking the U.N. estimate for the world’s population in 2020, and I get the following numbers:
- 874,087 genomes per hour
- 14,568 genomes per minute
- 243 genomes per second
Of course much of the sequencing would be done concurrently, so it wouldn’t be a constant rate of production. But still this would be awesome. I think being much more conservative there’ll be at least hundreds of thousands of people who are fully sequenced, if not millions. I don’t know if this is valid personally, but there’s a paper on data compression which claims it might be feasible to reduce the size of the raw sequence output to ~4 MB. That might be helpful, since even at that size you’d still have 30 million terabytes of information to store (I assume that any given genome will be replicated thousands of times in various data centers).