How is DNA sequenced?

Once your genomic data is extracted from your saliva, scientists break the long strands of DNA into individual pieces. Then each piece is sequenced individually, and reassembled into the billions of letters that make up your genome.

$ billions
2 decades
first genome sequenced
$ thousands
60 days
sequencing today

DNA sequencing involves taking a DNA molecule and determining its specific sequence of nucleotides (bases). There are many different techniques for sequencing DNA.

Sequencing of genomes or exomes does not involve sequencing of individual chromosomes. Instead, DNA is typically randomly fragmented into many small pieces that are each sequenced individually. This generates many short DNA sequences that are then computationally reassembled to generate the complete genome or exome sequence. Advances in DNA sequencing technology have dramatically reduced the cost and time necessary to sequence entire exomes and genomes.

Learn more about our lab’s sequencing process

Hartl, D.L. and Jones, E.W. (2005). Genetics: analysis of genes and genomes. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.