Genes in the Cloud: Google Steps Into Autism Research

Genes in the Cloud: Google Steps Into Autism Research

Genes in the Cloud: Google Steps Into Autism Research

By Shirley S. Wang

Google Inc. and Autism Speaks, a major autism research foundation, plan to announce on Tuesday a deal in which the Internet giant will house the sequencing of 10,000 complete genomes and other clinical data of children with autism and their siblings and parents. The hope of those involved is to accelerate research on the developmental disorder.

Studying genes has been touted as a key to understanding Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and autism. But huge DNA databases require computing and storage that many universities and research hospitals don’t have.

The database will be part of the AUT10K, the Autism Speaks genome-mapping program. It is thought to be the largest collection of whole genomes and would be open to all qualified researchers. The tools needed to analyze the data would be available on the Google system.

Organizers expect to have an easy-to-use portal for researchers within a year. They hope to have the raw data available sooner.  Continue reading

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