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Google Joins Global Alliance for Genomics and Health

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Google has signed on to join the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH), an international initiative that seeks to make genomic data more useful and secure, the Internet services and products firm said in a post on its Research Blog last week.

GA4GH launched last summer as around 70 biomedical research entities and government organizations, including the National Institutes of Health, the Wellcome Trust, BGI-Shenzhen, and Genome Canada, signed on to create a non-profit alliance and agreed to follow a set of core principles.

The vision, as outlined in a white paper that accompanied the launch of GA4GH, is to create a non-profit global alliance that will create a harmonized framework of technology and practice standards for sharing genomic and clinical data, while making it easier to share these types of data. The partners have said they will create open technology standards and interoperable information technology platforms for sharing and interpreting genomic data.

Google said it is developing a web-based application programming interface called Google Genomics. It has made an early version of the API available to the research community for preview purposes and feedback.

Google would manage the servers and disks of the interface, and researchers would be able to store genomic data securely, while keeping private data private and making public data available to the research community. It also would allow scientists to import data for entire cohorts in parallel and to "search and slice" data from any samples in one query, Google said.