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Genes in the Cloud: Google Steps Into Autism Research

A model of DNA's double helix.

Google and Autism Speaks will put data related to children with autism and their families on cloud servers, in an attempt to accelerate research on the disorder.

Credit: flickr/ynse

Google and Autism Speaks recently announced an arrangement in which the two organizations will house the sequencing of 10,000 complete genomes and other clinical data of children with autism and their siblings and parents with the goal of accelerating research on the disorder.

The database will be part of AUT10K, the Autism Speaks genome-mapping program. The program's organizers expect to have an easy-to-use portal for researchers within a year.

The project's organizers say putting the information and analytical tools on cloud servers allows for more seamless collaboration between researchers and provides access for researchers from institutions that do not have the technology to conduct genomic studies on their own. In addition, using cloud-computing methods will help overcome storage issues, while accuracy, security, and confidentiality also are concerns.

AUT10K will be available to researchers who agree to abide by a standard research agreement, according to Autism Speaks chief science officer Robert Ring. Google wants to use its cloud technology to help Autism Speaks and others in genomics generate results "better, faster, and cheaper," says Google's David Glazer. "Cloud computing is the great leveler," says Duke University director of research computing Mark DeLong, who isn't involved in the partnership.

From The Wall Street Journal
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Abstracts Copyright © 2014 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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