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Genome to Genome, a Click Away


In a talk at Cambridge Healthtech Institute’s Beyond Genome conference, David Haussler of the University of California, Santa Cruz, stirred some interest with his statement that all three of the public genome browsers may become interaccessible. Currently, the Ensembl browser and the UCSC Golden Path are linked. “Whenever you’re viewing a region of the genome you can jump to that region in the other browser by just clicking,” Haussler says.

But the NCBI viewer is not similarly linked, making it harder for users to compare query results and data points across browsers. NHGRI director Francis Collins told GT that because the NCBI browser is built on a different assembly from the others, “It’s difficult to bounce between the versions.”

Though they’re still in preliminary phases, Haussler says people at the highest level of each group — including Collins, David Lipman, Jim Kent, and Ewan Birney — are in talks to deeply link all three viewers. “I think people are very enthusiastic about this,” Haussler says. “People want to be able to utilize the power of the Net, and that’s linkage — being able to jump from site to site to get a perspective on the data you’re interested in.”

— Adrienne Burke and Meredith Salisbury


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