The Broad Institute is a partnership between MIT and Harvard, and has amassed the world’s largest collection of genetic data about diseases. Google Genomics helps the life science community organize genomic information and make it accessible and useful to researchers. As an extension to the Google Cloud Platform, Google Genomics makes it possible to apply the same technologies that power Search and Maps to securely store, explore, and share large genetic datasets.
These two organizations announced on Tuesday of this week that they are teaming up to offer an easier way for genetic scientists across the globe to pursue their research online.
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The Broad Institute and Google Genomics will offer researchers simple online access to the Broad Institute’s tools for converting genetic data gathered from blood and tissue samples into useful data about the mutations behind cancers and other diseases.
More on Broad Institute – Google Genomics Partnership
In most cases, genomics researchers have to run tissue samples through a DNA sequencer to generate their basic data. To analyze that data, the researchers must download the Broad Institute’s software tools, analyze the data on various computers, copy files, and ship them around the country or the globe to collaborators. More than 20,000 geneticists worldwide have used Broad’s software analysis tools.
The new Broad-Google partnership means it will be possible to automate a number of those steps using on Google’s cloud-based servers.
Keep in mind that other tech firms such as Microsoft and Amazon are developing their own cloud platforms for managing genetic data. Moreover, the Broad Institute’s deal with Google is nonexclusive, so Broad can work with other platforms.
Statement from director of Broad Institute
“Our mission is to empower the biomedical revolution that’s happening around the world,” Eric Lander, founding director of the Broad Institute, commented in a presser on Tuesday. “Central to our mission is to make sure the tools we develop are as broadly accessible as possible. As you get to huge volumes of data, you get to the question of where you’re going to store this data. And storing it on your own computers makes less and less sense.”
Statement from Google Genomics engineering director
“The Broad is expert at developing the algorithms to analyze genomic data,” Google Genomics engineering director David Glazer noted. “Google is expert at running algorithms at large scale. When you put that together, you have the best algorithms running in the best environment.”