Cost of Next-Generation Sequencing

Cost of NGS

With decreasing costs thanks to continuous innovation, sequencing has never been easier or more affordable

96% decrease in the average annual cost-per-genome over the last 10 years

Redefining the price of discovery

Researchers are shifting to NGS to expand the scale and discovery power of their genomics studies. With the simplicity and cost efficiencies of benchtop sequencing systems, NGS equipment is now accessible to laboratories of all sizes.

Many laboratories are choosing to bring NGS in-house to increase lab efficiency, save time, and tighten control over data privacy and NGS projects. Some perceive NGS to be too expensive vs. other methods, but the reality is that NGS can be a very cost-effective method to complement or replace other molecular methods. NGS can add substantial value and utility in an individual lab, with no expertise required.

scientist in lab recording information

Key questions to consider

As you begin the decision process, start with evaluating your research goals and laboratory needs. Consider these key questions before purchasing your NGS system:

  1. What methods and applications will I use most?
  2. What are the best instrumentation options for my methods and scale of study?
  3. How do I ensure quality in data, instrumentation, and workflow?
  4. What are the ongoing costs beyond the initial purchase?
  5. How will I analyze and store NGS data?
  6. How will I collaborate with other researchers?
  7. What level of product support will I receive?

Evaluating NGS costs: A holistic view

When purchasing an NGS platform lots of factors need to be considered, not just the instrument price or the cost/Gb—these factors alone can be quite misleading. Total cost of ownership needs to be evaluated closely, which includes everything from set up to ancillary equipment, ease of use, level of support/instrument uptime, company reputation/longevity, training, and much more.

NextSeq 1000 / 2000 photo with abstract lighting

The best type of sequencing system for your lab is mainly determined by the throughput and data intensity of your methods and applications. Remember to consider your needs now and in the future. Most researchers start with a benchtop sequencer.

View all sequencing platforms

Running expenses
  • Cost per experiment
  • Cost per sample (eg, DNA isolation, library prep, and sequencing reagents)
  • For higher-output applications, economies of scale can help reduce cost
Laboratory space & ancillary equipment
  • Consider your laboratory space and facility systems
  • Nucleic acid quantitation instrument
  • Nucleic acid quality analyzer
  • Separate cluster generation instrument
  • Thermocycler
  • Ultrasonicator (used in some library prep methods)
  • Centrifuge
  • Common lab supplies (eg, pipettors, 96-well plates, centrifuge tubes)
  • Additional specialized equipment
Data quality, analysis and storage
  • Data quality (Q-score) to prevent repeat operations
  • Software licenses
  • Storing data/servers (often part of the licensing cost)
  • Running data analysis apps (also known as the compute cost)
  • Security and compliance requirements
  • Analysis pipelines scalability
  • Data compression and archiving solutions
Instrument support
  • Onboarding and staff training
  • Opportunity cost of troubleshooting equipment
  • Preventive maintenance via proactive instrument monitoring
  • Hands-on time: efficiency and workflow simplicity to free up lab tech time
  • Turnaround time can be costly when outsourcing (opportunity cost, fewer experiments)
NGS buyer’s guide cover
Choosing an NGS system: A step-by-step guide

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the entire decision process by helping you evaluate your research goals and laboratory needs.

  • Key questions to ask before purchasing your NGS system
  • Key considerations for sequencing and data analysis platforms
  • NGS buyer’s checklist
Download NGS buyer’s guide

A complete sequencing ecosystem

As next-generation sequencing costs continue to decline, Illumina is leading the way in making NGS more affordable and accessible through continuous innovation. There has been a 96% decrease in the average cost-per-genome since 20131,2. We strive to help labs of all sizes access the potential of this powerful technology.

When you purchase an Illumina sequencer, you benefit from:
icon workflow

A complete and connected portfolio ecosystem for a streamlined workflow

icon chat

Innovations that deliver operational simplicity and fast, easy onboarding

icon support

Comprehensive product support with 96% customer satisfaction, <1 day mean repair time, 24/5 technical support, and more

icon service plan

Instrument service plans with highly-qualified service teams of engineers, technical application scientists, bioinformaticians, and IT experts

icon chat

A community of leading researchers sharing best practices and approaches

icon analysis software

Powerful, yet easy-to-use data analysis and storage solutions

"The cost barrier has gone way down. That's probably one of the things that kept people out. But Illumina has made great strides in making sequencing technologies more accessible for a lower cost. The expertise is there."

NGS cost FAQ

When setting aside lab space for your sequencer, make sure the space is protected from excessive vibrations or temperature fluctuations. If your lab does not have pre-PCR and post-PCR areas, consider establishing two separate rooms, or separate lab benches, to avoid PCR contamination in your NGS experiments.
While training and installation services are an option, specialized lab staff are not required for instrument maintenance. The iSeq 100 System, our most affordable sequencer, is designed to make self-installation simple. Our instruments contain built-in quality controls and can guide you through running a system check. We also offer comprehensive service plans, and our scientists and engineers are available to provide additional support and answer questions.

Designed for the iSeq 100 System, this grant writing assistance document can help you justify funding in your grant applications.
Access PDF

With multiplex sequencing, you can pool multiple libraries together and sequence them simultaneously. Multiplexing exponentially increases the number of samples analyzed in a single run, without drastically increasing cost or time.
Learn More

We have an equipment trade-in program, leasing options, and bundles to help you get started with NGS. Explore different buying options to find which best fits your needs.
Learn More

Request an NGS cost consultation

Have questions about how next-generation sequencing fits into your budget? Connect with an Illumina Sales Specialist today.

Speak to a sales specialist

  1. National Human Genome Research Institute. DNA Sequencing Costs: Data. Accessed April 10, 2023.
  2. 3billion. Whole Genome Sequencing cost 2023. Accessed April 10, 2023