Google has now partnered with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to launch its latest project, the Genome Analysis Toolkit (GATK) on Google’s Cloud Platform and will make the information available to researchers and business users for the first time.
This is the first major development of Google Genomics, which launched back in 2014 as a way to provide the corporation’s cloud computing platform to academics researching life science projects, according to Tech Crunch.
GATK is the first time Google has partnered with the Broad Institute, and this specific project is aimed at analyzing genomic sequencing by organizing and sharing the information through a cloud platform, the San Francisco Business Times explains. Ultimately, the project is intended “to help medical researchers upload data and quickly get answers regarding variations in genes that can identify diseases.”
It may seem like a complicated life science sector for Google to jump into, but it’s not the only cloud computing agency attempting to provide researchers with better programs to analyze gene sequences; Microsoft and Amazon have both already joined the race (along with many additional smaller groups) and all are competing to find the best program for an ever-growing team of researchers.
Using cloud services in the world of business, and even research, is nothing particularly new; already more than 50% of businesses in the U.S. use or plan to implement cloud computing services in the near future.
But unlike most businesses, the sheer scale of the Google Genomics project is beyond what any business or research group has attempted; the Broad Institute has already collected over 1.4 million biological samples, each with its own set of detailed information, according to Computer World. Google Genomics not only has to store this data in an organized way so that it can be accessed and analyzed easily, but it has to make this information available for the 20,000 researchers across the globe who have already downloaded the GATK software.
Even more importantly, Google’s program must be capable of expanding in order to meet the needs of the Broad Institute, and its thousands of partnered researchers, as more data is collected.