What Is the Cost of Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS)?

Your genome consists of the entire sequence of nucleic acids which make up the DNA inside your cells. Whole genome sequencing is a type of genetic testing that’s used to generate the whole sequence of an organism’s DNA. It can be used to identify genetic variants that may increase your risk of developing a disease or condition.

High-quality WGS labs use specialized equipment and require technical certifications in order to provide a reliable service and accurate genetic information. Of course, these quality benchmarks increase the costs associated with WGS. But genome sequencing can lead to significant savings over time, since preventing disease is typically much more affordable than treating it. 

Read on to discover what is the cost of whole genome sequencing and why Sequencing.com is cheaper than other alternatives.

Why does whole genome sequencing cost so much money?

WGS is a process through which the complete genetic information of an organism can be determined and analyzed.

In order to do this, DNA needs to be extracted from the cells, then amplified in a lab so all its base pairs can be sequenced. Finally, the resulting sequence needs to be compared against all the other genomes in a database in order to find similarities and differences between them. This final process is the step that allows your DNA sequence to be interpreted for you to receive your genetic information reports. As you can see, this procedure involves many technical steps, which often leads to high costs.

Despite the fact that many parts of the WGS process have become automated, it’s still an incredibly complex process. The base pairs in a DNA sequence can’t be read in order1; instead, the DNA sequence must be broken down into smaller fractions. Each of these fractions is then subjected to different chemical processes so the sequence of the base pairs can be identified.

The resulting sequence reads must be assembled back together in the correct order, which is done by a specialized type of equipment called a DNA sequencer. Sequencers can cost up to $1 million each. Additionally, there are significant maintenance and infrastructure costs that need to be taken into account during this process.

Choosing a high-quality WGS lab

There are many different expenses that come into play when you’re getting your DNA sequenced, and each of these expenses affects the final cost of the test.

When searching for a company to sequence your DNA, you should look for one with certification from organizations such as the College of American Pathologists (CAP) and the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)2.

These certifications ensure that the lab has undergone rigorous quality assurance testing and meets stringent standards. They also require the lab to pay certain fees and undertake regular proficiency tests to ensure their quality.

There are many benefits to having your DNA sequenced by a certified lab. You will get more accurate information about what diseases you may be at risk for and how they can be treated. 

It’s important to choose a lab that offers genetic counseling after you receive your results. Genetic counseling services can help you understand any risks associated with passing on certain genes or traits to future generations.3 Receiving specialized guidance from a genetic counselor increases the cost of WGS; however, it’s also the best way to guarantee that you fully understand your results and what they entail for your health.

The history of sequencing costs

The cost of whole genome sequencing has been steadily decreasing over the years, from $10,000 in 2008 to less than $1,000 today.

The Human Genome Project was a massive project4 that sought to sequence the human genome for the first time, and it took nearly 13 years to be completed. Because modern sequencing technologies weren’t available at the time, researchers had to sequence a representative part of each section of the human genome through international collaborations. Although it’s hard to pinpoint the exact cost of this project, it has been estimated that it was around $2.7 billion.

When the project was completed in 2003, it seemed nearly impossible to offer commercially available WGS to the wider population at affordable prices. But the development of new sequencing platforms called next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies has made it possible for the cost of WGS to gradually decrease over the years. Nowadays, it’s even possible to get your DNA sequenced for under $500.

How Sequencing.com makes WGS more affordable

While the average cost of clinical grade sequencing from a lab or a doctor is around $3,000 - $5,000, you can get WGS at a much lower price through Sequencing.com. That’s because by ordering a DNA sequencing kit online, you are effectively cutting out many intermediaries and all their associated costs. This allows Sequencing.com to offer $399 WGS while still maintaining the accuracy and privacy of your results, thus making high-quality WGS accesible to a much wider population.

Thanks to the high-quality equipment used at Sequencing.com, we can ensure that the quality of your results is the same as that of results from the lab.

Getting WGS through Sequencing.com is also more cost efficient when compared to similar alternatives. Historically, you needed to get different genetic testing panels to sequence specific genes, and each panel could cost approximately $1,000-$2,000. But with Sequencing.com’s WGS, you only have to have your genome sequenced once to obtain 100% of your DNA data.

But the benefits of using Sequencing.com don’t stop after you receive your initial reports — as a matter of fact, you can continue to use the same sample data to generate new reports for the rest of your life. This information is stored securely and you’ll be able to access it whenever you wish to get a new report.

Sequencing.com provides 30x clinical grade whole genome sequencing, which ensures that you’ll receive detailed and high-quality genetic reports that can be used to improve your lifestyle and healthcare choices.

You can visit Sequencing.com and get sequenced now to learn everything you need to know about your DNA.


  1. NHGRI. (2019, March 13). The Cost of Sequencing a Human Genome. Genome.gov. 
  2. Ambulos N. P., Jr. (2013). The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Getting CLIA-Certification for a Basic Research Lab. Journal of Biomolecular Techniques : JBT, 24(Suppl), S21.
  3. Genetic Counseling | CDC. (n.d.).
  4. The Human Genome Project. (n.d.). Genome.gov. 

About the Author

Dr. Brandon Colby MD is a US physician specializing in the personalized prevention of disease through the use of genomic technologies. He’s an expert in genetic testing, genetic analysis, and precision medicine. Dr. Colby is also the Founder of Sequencing.com and the author of Outsmart Your Genes.

Dr. Colby holds an MD from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, an MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, and a degree in Genetics with Honors from the University of Michigan. He is an Affiliate Specialist of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (⁠ACMG), an Associate of the American College of Preventive Medicine (⁠ACPM), and a member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (⁠NSGC).

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