News FocusHuman Genome 10th Anniversary

Will Computers Crash Genomics?

Science  11 Feb 2011:
Vol. 331, Issue 6018, pp. 666-668
DOI: 10.1126/science.331.6018.666

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A single DNA sequencer can now generate in a day what it took 10 years to collect for the Human Genome Project. Computers are central to archiving and analyzing this information, but their processing power isn't increasing fast enough, and their costs are decreasing too slowly, to keep up with the deluge. Bioinformaticists are trying new approaches to handle the data onslaught. Some are heading for the clouds—cloud computing, that is, a pay-as-you-go service, accessible from one's own desktop, that provides rented time on a large cluster of machines that work together in parallel as fast as, or faster than, a single powerful computer. But other researchers warn that cloud computing is not the solution to every data problem.

This News Focus article and the one on sharing genomic data with trial participants are part of a collection this month reflecting on the 10th anniversary of the publication of the human genome, which is gathered here.