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Supercomputer Analyzes 240 Full Genomes in Two Days

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Waverunner, Feb 20, 2014.

  1. Waverunner

    Waverunner Senior Member

    This is great news. Due to Moore's law we should get a lot faster PCs in the next few years for the same price as today. While whole genome sequencing costs around 1,000 USD, the interpretation is still at around 5,000 to 10,000 USD. Faster computers will help us to drive down this cost parameter tremendously. This supercomputer did a great job and the task it performed can be very valuable for affected patients.

    A scientific team at the University of Chicago reports that genome analysis can be radically accelerated by relying on supercomputers such as the one they used. This computer, known as Beagle and based at Argonne National Laboratory, is able to analyze 240 full genomes in about two days, according to the researchers.

    Although the time and cost of sequencing an entire human genome has plummeted, most current approaches to analyzing the resulting three billion base pairs of genetic information from a single genome can take many months.

    “This is a resource that can change patient management and, over time, add depth to our understanding of the genetic causes of risk and disease,” said study author Elizabeth McNally, M.D., Ph.D., the A. J. Carlson Professor of Medicine and Human Genetics and director of the Cardiovascular Genetics clinic at the University of Chicago Medicine.

    “The supercomputer can process many genomes simultaneously rather than one at a time,” said first author Megan Puckelwartz, a graduate student in McNally's laboratory. “It converts whole-genome sequencing, which has primarily been used as a research tool, into something that is immediately valuable for patient care.”

    The team published their study (“Supercomputing for the parallelization of whole genome analysis”) in Bioinformatics.
    Valentijn likes this.

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