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Now What?: Feb 16, 2011

In a SeqAnswers thread, Nick Loman alerts users to an anonymous comment at Jonathan Eisen's Tree of Life blog, in which a reader posted what appears to be internal National Center for Biotechnology Information memo from Director David Lipman. The anonymous comment says that funding for the Sequence Read Archive will be "phased out over the next 12 months." While Loman acknowledges that it'd be unwise to take the contents of an anonymous comment at face value, he says that it's difficult to imagine "who had the time to fake up official NCBI communication," and he says that he has "independent confirmation from several sources that it is true." Over at Nature's The Great Beyond blog, Ewen Callaway says that, based upon blog comments at Eisen's place, "some bioinformaticians are applauding the potential closure of the balky Sequencing Read Archive, which is tasked with storing the raw data now pouring out of DNA sequencers by the terabyte." Though NCBI has yet to confirm the rumor, SeqAnswers users are discussing where they plan to deposit and share their short read data should it be true. Member csoong says that perhaps researchers ought to "only share certain variation files," while Richard Finney suggests that "perhaps using a subset of the bit torrent protocol might be an answer."

Update: NCBI has confirmed that it will discontinue the SRA, as well as its Trace Archive and Peptidome repositories.

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