Analyzing the huge amounts of data involved in mapping DNA sequences requires formidable computing resources, but not every scientist working in the field has access to a large network or supercomputer, making genomics the perfect candidate for cloud-computing. Applied Biosystems and Geospiza have announced the launch of a genetic analysis solution using cloud-computing that aims to put the tools required for this important field of study into more hands.

The typical computational approach to the processing and storage of DNA sequencing data is inefficient, while a solution based in cloud-computing which uses dynamically scalable, and often virtual, resources provided via the Internet makes sense. As well farming out the processing power, the system also provides the option to store the data online to spread access to the newly mapped DNA sequences. Scientists can manage and store their data, as well as access bioinformatics software tools to analyze their data in the genetic sciences equivalent of Google Documents.

The new service combines the infrastructure of Amazon Web Services, Applied Biosystems' the SOLiD System platform for next-generation genomic analysis and real-time access to Geospiza's Geneshifter software.

“Taking significant steps to advance the bioinformatics structure to support next-generation sequencing will accelerate its use and unlock the full potential of this technology to bring about the era of personalized medicine,” said Kip Miller, President of Life Technologies’ Genetic Systems Division.

The potential for cloud-computing to assist in breakthroughs important field of study is clearly significant. Who would have thought that one day we'd be doing genomic analysis in this way, and it's almost certainly just a small taste of what's to come from the cloud.

Stephen Saunders