When Will Genetic Testing Be Affordable?

In this weeks paper there is a curious statement that comes just towards the end:

The limited availability and cost of pharmacogenetic testing are additional challenges (Tucker, 2008). Most insurance plans will reimburse the cost of pharmacogenetic testing only if it is required by the FDA, medically necessary, or has proven clinical utility (Shin et al., 2009).

  • Margaret Mroziewicz, m.Sc. Rachel F. Tyndale, ph.D. “Pharmacogenetics: A Tool for Identifying Genetic Factors in Drug Dependence and Response to Treatment” Addiction Science & Clinical Practice—December 2010

There is much excitement surrounding genetic testing and of course in a Gene Technology class we discuss the implications of this sort of approach regularly. If we are looking at pharmacogenomics, or ancestral research the entire process hinges on the sequencing being affordable.

A hidden benefit of the genome project was the development of new technology for sequencing and this is exactly what happened. On a side note, the genome project was started with full knowledge that the current sequencing technology was insufficient for the project and it is this aspect that initially garnered comparisons to the Apollo project. With the completion of the genome project the cost of sequencing has continued to drop as the quality of that same sequencing has increased.


Sometime around 2014 the $1,000 genome race really started to heat up. Nature touched upon the topic here. And then in 2015 Veritas Genetics broke through with their PGP collaboration here.

And with that, the cost barriers seem to be falling, leaving the question of what’s next. Having your genome sequenced comes with allot of challenges, allot of information, both technically and at a deeper level, information with obvious health implications.