According to the Department of Energy, 200 million base pairs were sequenced for all genome projects in the whole of 1998. By 2003 one large project alone, the DOE’s Joint Genome Institute (JGI), sequenced some 1.5 billion bases in a month.If the march of DNA sequencing had been increasing according to Moore’s law, then, based on my back-of-the-envelope calculation, the JGI’s capacity would not have reached that 1.5 billion bases milestone until next year at the earliest. In fact, the JGI lists its likely 2010 sequenced output at 1.1 trillion bases—more than four times the 256 billion bases it sequenced in 2009, which was itself more than five times the 42.8 billion bases it sequenced in 2008. Genome data are being accumulated at a rate far, far faster than Moore’s law.
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