bioinformatics, genomes, biology etc. "I don't mean to sound angry and cynical, but I am, so that's how it comes across"

People are wrong about sequencing costs on the internet again

People are wrong about sequencing costs on the internet again and it hurts my face, so I had to write a blog post.

Phil Ashton, whom I like very much, posted this blog:

But the words are all wrong 😉  I’ll keep this short:

  • COST is what it COSTS to do something.  It includes all COSTS.  The clue is in the name.  COST. It’s right there.
  • PRICE is what a consumer pays for something.

These are not the same thing.

As a service provider, if the PRICE you charge to users is lower than your COST, then you are either SUBSIDISED or LOSING MONEY, and are probably NOT SUSTAINABLE.

COST, amongst other things, includes:

  • Reagents
  • Staff time
  • Capital cost or replacement cost (sequencer and compute)
  • Service and maintenance fees
  • Overheads
  • Rent

Someone is paying these, even if it’s not the consumer.  So please – when discussing sequencing – distinguish between PRICE and COST.

Thank you 


  1. Be the subject of a coruscating Mick Watson blog post – achievement unlocked!

    Thanks Mick, this is a special day


  2. biomickwatson

    25th November 2016 at 9:34 am

    I bet you thought today was going to be a quiet day eh?

  3. It’s on my bucket list too.

  4. I need to go and have a lie down in a dark room 🙂

  5. biomickwatson

    25th November 2016 at 9:57 am

    … and think about sequencing costs/prices

  6. my eyes are pies !!!

  7. biomickwatson

    28th November 2016 at 9:33 am

    Torsten, have you sorted out that ID length issue on Prokka yet?!

    If not, you’re next on the list!

  8. I think you are looking at it from the service provider’s perspective. From the consumer’s perspective, however, price and cost may be equal: the price of the sequencing is what sequencing costs the consumer. (I say “may be” and not “are” because of course the consumer might incur other related costs not charged by the sequencing service provider, such as that of shipping.)

  9. Hi

    Could you tell me what is the price of VeriSeq NIPT Analysis Software or at least a general ballpark figure? Need to know for an assignment.


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