Illumina's X Ten was a major announcement. It arguably delivered the "$1000 genome", kickstarted national population genomics as a science, and delivered the final blow to Complete Genomics. It is debatable as to whether Illumina needed to release X Ten at $1000, or with such huge capacity; and it is unclear what the X Ten economics really look like for customers or Illumina themselves, but the world can now sequence an unprecedented number of genomes: about 576,000 per year!
Where are all the X Tens: There look to be about 320 X Ten instruments, I searched online and at AllSeq (great) and Genohub (not so great). Installations include - Baylor College of Medicine (10), Broad Institute (14), CEN4GEN (5), Centre National de Genotypage (5), Core Genetics (?), DKFZ (10), Garvan Institute of Medical Research (10), GENEWIZ (10), Genome Quebec (5), GRAIL (?), HudsonAlpha (10), Human Longevity Inc (20), Macrogen (10), McDonnell Genome Institute (10), New York Genome Center (10), Novogene (10), SciLifeLab (10), Sidra Medical and Research Center (10), SNP&SEQ (?), Theragen Etex Bio (10), Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (10), WuXi AppTec (10), Genomics England (Illumina) (30), Scottish Genomes Partnership (15), DeCode.
How genomes are actually being sequenced: While each X Ten box can generate one thousand eight hundred $1000 genomes per year it is unclear how heavily they being used. There are very few reports of X Tens being used at capacity and even 80% capacity seems to be optimistic so a large number of those boxes may be sitting idle. The reasons for this are likely to vary from lab to lab but three main factors need to be considered:
- Sample collection: getting enough patients recruited
- The cost of sequencing: finding the cash
- Analysis and interpretation: hiring enough Bioinformaticians
We're just about to send off our first X Ten project for 1000 genomes...tough to do on two HiSeq 4000's!