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Bay Area biotech Ultima Genomics on Tuesday claimed that its technology can sequence a whole human genome for $100, making it a surprise player in the race to read DNA quickly, accurately, and cheaply.

The company didn’t provide specifics or immediately reply to an inquiry from STAT as to how it calculated that cost. But a $100 genome would represent a major drop in price, one that could help researchers unlock sequencing’s potential to unravel the mysteries of undiagnosed diseases, spot early signs of cancer, and better understand human health. That’s because while the cost of reading a full human genome has plummeted from around $95 million in 2001 to about $560 in 2021, according to the National Human Genome Research Institute, sequencing is still too pricey to be routinely used in health care and research.

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