DNA Sequencing Moving Too Fast for Computers and Bioinformaticians

Everything in technology seems to increase in exponential fashion.  There’s the ever-quoted Moore’s Law, where CPU speeds seem to double every 1.5 years.  RAM capacities and HD capacities seem to follow this rate, although the correlation might be coincidental more than anything else.  However, network speeds have barely increased in the past decade, it seems. The boon in high-tech, high-throughput technological advancements in modern genetics labs is also a bit of a curse. As the New York Times reports in DNA Sequencing Caught in Deluge of Data:

The field of genomics is caught in a data deluge. DNA sequencing is becoming faster and cheaper at a pace far outstripping Moore’s law, which describes the rate at which computing gets faster and cheaper.

The result is that the ability to determine DNA sequences is starting to outrun the ability of researchers to store, transmit and especially to analyze the data.

That could delay the day when DNA sequencing is routinely used in medicine. In only a year or two, the cost of determining a person’s complete DNA blueprint is expected to fall below $1,000. But that long-awaited threshold excludes the cost of making sense of that data, which is becoming a bigger part of the total cost as sequencing costs themselves decline.