Huge database on human genetic variation opens to public
Researchers worldwide now have public access to an enormous database of information on human genetic variation, officials from the National Institutes of Health and a public-private research collaboration announced. The database was produced by the 1000 Genomes Project, an international research consortium started in 2008 and supported by the NIH’S National Human Genome Research Institute, the National Center for Biotechnology Information, and numerous not-for-profit institutes and genetic-research companies. It represents the “world’s largest set of data on human genetic variation,” according to an NIH news release. The 200-terabyte data set— equivalent to 30,000 Dvds—is now publicly available on the Amazon Web Services cloud and at 1000genomes.org. “Now we want to find new and better ways to make the most of these data to speed discovery, innovation and improvements in the nation’s health and economy,” NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins said in the release. The announcement was made at an event hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington. At the same event, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced the launch of the public-private Big Data Research and Development Initiative, which will commit more than $200 million and the resources of at least six federal agencies, including the NIH, to develop technologies needed to analyze large data sets.