Human Genome Data Finds Home in the Clouds

Google has recently announced that they will begin storing human genome data in the cloud. This service will set you back $25 per year and this fee may sound like a lot, however, it should be noted that human genome data takes up to 100GBs to store.

Once human genome data becomes available in the cloud, researchers can employ Big Data techniques to sift through the data to compare and contrast the differences in DNA. Researchers believe that they can diagnose and potentially cure diseases based on the data found inside the DNA. Google mentions that as they have decided to help the human genome project, it has also dedicated its lightning fast search tools to help researchers sift through this enormous pile of the data. Some analysts believe that these tools could significantly cut down the time it takes to gain useful information about a disease such as a cancer.

In fact, the National Cancer Institute has committed to moving 2.6 petabytes of genome data into the Google cloud. This shift will cost the NCI about $19 million dollars. While Google has been gaining the most notoriety for its cloud genome project, Amazon Web Services has also stepped up to the plate in order to help out with this critical public health project.

Ed Farmer from NextCode conducted an interview with Eweek where he is quoted as saying, “You need to be able to run samples against panels of genetic variants known to be linked to diseases, essentially instantly, since that is the easiest bit,” Farmer said. “In the vast majority of cases that doesn’t yield causative mutations. So you need then to be able to search according to a range of inheritance patterns, with the ability to leverage all the main public reference datasets, and have algorithms that are effective for detecting de novo variation, which accounts for a large proportion of rare genetic disease.”