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Store It, Make Sense of It

A human genome contains hundred of gigabytes of data and as more and more genomes are sequenced, the amount of data that needs to be stored and analyzed grows, the Economist reports.

"The amount gathered is doubling every seven months; by 2025 it could require more storage capacity than for every YouTube video on the planet, or for all the information astronomers have drawn from the heavens," it says.

That, it adds, has created an opportunity for companies to specialize in storing or interpreting genomes — and sometimes both. For instance, the Economist notes that companies like Microsoft and Spiral Genetics have teamed up. As GenomeWeb has reported, this partnership will enable Spiral's bioinformatics tool, called BioGraph, to be available on Microsoft's Azure cloud. Similarly, Huawei has launched the China Precision Medicine Cloud, which includes analytics tools from Wuxi NextCODE, as GenomeWeb has also reported.

Even as genetic testing becomes cheaper to perform, the Economist cautions that "profits are not guaranteed to flow quickly" as healthcare companies and governments are slow to adopt new tests and as direct-to-consumer testing companies need to both convince customers of tests' usefulness and regulators of their safety and accuracy.

"Genomics has long blended huge promise and practical difficulties. That won't change," it adds.