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What to Do with All That Data?

Recent technological advances in genomics have caused something both "terrifying" and "exciting," Mike the Mad Biologist says — "a massive amount of data." Mike says that genome sequencing is already fast and cheap, but it will become faster and cheaper; the problem is evolving from how to sequence genomes to get informative data to how best to use the information we already have. "We are entering an era where the time and money costs won't be focused on raw sequence generation, but on the informatics needed to build high-quality genomes with those data," Mike says. While it's great to be able to contemplate a $100 genome, the costs of storing and using the data could be upwards of $2,500. Researchers must find ways to store the data and analyze everything that's already been sequenced. "You have eleventy gajillion genomes. Now what? Many of the analytical methods use 'N-squared' algorithms: that is, a 10-fold increase in data requires a 100-fold increase in computation. And that's optimistic," he says.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.