Leicester geneticist involved in internet for DNA

Scientists at the University of Leicester are playing a central role in the development of what is being described as ‘an internet for DNA’.

Professor Anthony Brookes (pictured), Professor of Bioinformatics and Genomics in the world-renowned Department of Genetics at Leicester, and his team have for many years run the world’s largest open access ‘GWAS Central’ database, which provides a centralized compilation of summary level findings from all published Genome Wide Association Studies, thereby mapping common human genetic variations to risks of various diseases and other traits.

More recently he has expanded this area of work, and thereby contributed to the high-profile Beacon project in the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH), by devising the federated Cafe Variome system that feeds possible and probably disease causing mutations into a search engine for a global ‘Internet of DNA’ that will link millions of genomes together.

GA4GH is an international coalition, dedicated to improving human health by maximizing the potential of genomic medicine through effective and responsible data sharing. The promise of genomic data to revolutionize biology and medicine depends critically on our ability to make comparisons across millions of human genome sequences, but this requires coordination across organizations, methods, diseases, and even countries. GA4GH members are working together to create interoperable approaches and catalyze initiatives that will help unlock the great potential of genomic data.

The new simple search engine combs through the DNA letters of thousands of human genomes stored at 18 locations, including Google’s server farms and the University of Leicester federated Café Variome sites.

You can find out more about the work of Professor Anthony Brookes here.