Google, Autism Speaks partner for genomes database project

Posted by Justin Hesser on June 15, 2014

There are some members of the IT department that will tell you a good database can dramatically change a business. While some may think this is a bit of an exaggeration, nothing could be further from the truth – just ask Google and Autism Speaks.

According to an article from the Verge, these two groups have partnered to start creating the largest database of sequenced genomes in existence when it comes to people with autism and members of their families. It will include genomes from 10,000 people, 1,000 have already been mapped. The goal is that this "open source" database will be able to facilitate research into the causes of the autism spectrum and possible treatments and diagnosis.

"The [Autism Speaks Ten Thousand Genomes Program] holds the potential to radically transform our understanding of autism and redefine the future of medical care for those affected by the disorder," Rob Ring, Autism Speaks' chief science officer, said in a statement. "Working with Google is a game-changer in this story."

According to David Glazer, the director of Google Genomics' engineering, there are similar genetics databases in existence, but none of them are close to this scale with regard to information specifically about autism. He added that modern biology has become a data-limited science, but that is changing as the limits are being removed by modern computing.

It is clear that organizations will be able to do great things when information is brought together. With the use of custom database software, any organization will be able to take this idea to and start changing the world.