The dramatic reductions in associated costs and time to completion effectively eliminates the main factors that once restricted genome sequencing to a few model organisms
Whole genome sequencing has traditionally been hampered by the enormous amount of money and effort involved. The estimated cost of the human genome project was around 2.700 million dollars and the project required more than ten years to be completed.
Current costs for a similar project are around 25 million dollars and the project could be completed in several years. However, the development of new mass sequencing technologies in the last few years is revolutionizing the genome-sequencing arena by dramatically reducing costs and time to completion.
The dramatic reductions in associated costs and time to completion effectively eliminates the main factors that once restricted genome sequencing to a few model organisms, what has prompted a proposal to sequence more than 10.000 vertebrate species to comprehensively study vertebrate evolution.
De novo sequencing of genomes as complex as most mammals remains a challenge for these new technologies because of their reliance on the massive generation of short sequences that can be difficult to align and assemble.
Nevertheless, the evolution of the new sequencing technologies towards the production of longer reads and pair-end sequences, and the increasing availability of moderately related genomes for assisted-assembly approaches should facilitate de novo sequencing of whole genomes based exclusively on these new technologies.
For example, the bonobo (a great ape) sequencing project is based exclusively in Roche-454 technology by taking advantage of the availability of the closely related chimpanzee genome (99.6% sequence similarity; 1.5 million years divergence).
Providing a first proof of principle, the draft of the recently released giant panda genome was assembled from short sequences produced exclusively by next-generation technology, even in the absence of a closely related genome.
Genomics means cutting-edge technology. It started with the reading of the 3,000 million letters which forms the human genome ten years ago. This developement opened a new world of possibilities and oportunities for the biological, medical and evolutionary sciences.
A decade of exponential technological progress has dramatically reduced the cost of whole genome sequencing, removing the main restriction for non-model species. The giant panda genome was assembled in 2010 and here's a current proporsal to sequence more than 10.000 species to study vertebrate evolution.