Google Genomics, Broad Partner, Offer GATK on Google Cloud Platform

June 24, 2015

By Bio-IT World Staff

June 24, 2015 | This morning Google Genomics announced a partnership with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to, “combine the power, security, and scale of Google Cloud Platform with Broad Institute’s expertise in scientific analysis.”

“In order to scale up by the next order of magnitude, Broad and Google will work together to explore how to build new tools and find new insights to propel biomedical research, using deep bioinformatics expertise, powerful analytics, and massive computing infrastructure,” said Jonathan Bingham, Product Manager, Google Genomics, in a Google Cloud Platform blog post. “Collaboration between the world’s premier genomics and biomedical research center and the most advanced computing infrastructure can help develop a new generation of tools and services that will enable scientists – from large academic institutions, commercial organizations, or small research labs in remote corners of the world – to uncover a wealth of biological insight.”

As a first step, Broad Institute’s Genome Analysis Toolkit, or GATK, will be offered as a service on Google Cloud Platform, as part of Google Genomics. The goal is to enable any genomic researcher to upload, store, and analyze data in a cloud-based environment that combines the Broad Institute’s best-in-class genomic analysis tools with the scale and computing power of Google.

The Google Genomics service will provide researchers with a powerful, additional way to use GATK, said a statement released by the Broad Institute. Researchers will be able to upload genetic data and run GATK-powered analyses on the Google Cloud Platform, and may use GATK to analyze genetic data already available for research via Google Genomics. GATK as a service will make best-practice genomic analysis readily available to researchers who don’t have access to the dedicated compute infrastructure and engineering teams required for analyzing genomic data at scale. An initial alpha release of the GATK service will be made available to a limited set of users.

“Large-scale genomic information is accelerating scientific progress in cancer, diabetes, psychiatric disorders, and many other diseases,” said Eric Lander, President and Director of Broad Institute, in the statement. “Storing, analyzing, and managing these data is becoming a critical challenge for biomedical researchers. We are excited to work with Google’s talented and experienced engineers to develop ways to empower researchers around the world by making it easier to access and use genomic information.”

Visit the GATK forum and to learn more.