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Plant Scientists Tackle Big Data Problems at Workshop


Boyce Thompson Institute associate professor Lukas Mueller presents at the GOBII workshop.

The first Genomic and Open source Breeding Informatics Initiative workshop at the Boyce Thompson Institute focused on developing an all-encompassing solution to handling big data in plant research programs.

Credit: Yaw Nti-Addae

The first Genomic and Open source Breeding Informatics Initiative (GOBII) workshop at the Boyce Thompson Institute focused on developing an all-encompassing solution to handling big data in plant research programs.

The participants worked to discover the best way to store and share trillions of data points generated in the pursuit of breeding better crops.

The GOBII project aims to create the architecture for a publicly accessible genomics database to accelerate the development of improved crop varieties. The database will need to be sufficiently robust to handle a massive amount of data of multiple types, while also being user-friendly so plant breeders can efficiently make use of the information, according to International Rice Research Institute software developer Kevin Palis.

The breeding centers can sequence tens of thousands of varieties of a single crop to create a catalog of millions of genetic markers for different traits. The data can be used for genomic selection, a plant-breeding strategy that uses statistical modeling to predict how a new plant variety will perform before being tested in the field.

The GOBII project hopes to bridge the gap between plant breeders and available genomic resources to yield better crops, especially in developing countries.

From Cornell Chronicle
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