I know my question is vague, but how affordable is it for the average Joe?
It definitely used to be outside most people’s reach. That’s why 10-15 years ago you would only here stories with Steve Jobs and others like him who sequenced their DNA.
It’s not anymore, though. And that’s down to a few advancements in technology.
The sequencing buffer (usually something that Illumina, the leader in the market, makes) has been significantly reduced in cost. This was the most expensive part of the sequencing process.
We now have lower cost automation machines, these save lots of money, and if you keep them running, then return is much greater.
Reagents are still today the bulk of the cost. Here’s an older paper (2016), but give it a read if you’re into this sort of stuff: https://genomebiology.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13059-016-0917-0
I honestly think this graph says it all.
When you think about the scale of the human genome, WGS is quite frankly cheap, and an amazing testament to the ingenuity of biomed scientists, and to the rapid advancement of technology.
There are approximately 3 billion base pairs per genome and sequencing now costs around 1000$ dollars, so each base pair costs peanuts. I am grateful to be alive now, to see such rapid advancements in medicine and biotech and to be able to take advantage of sequencing technologies.