Building GMGI’s Computational Capacity for
Marine Genomics Discovery

Computing is critical to making sense of the vast amount of genomic information produced by GMGI’s research programs.

The characteristics of every living organism are encoded in its genome -- or DNA -- which is made up four building blocks (known as A, G, C and T). Determining the arrangement of these building blocks through DNA sequencing technologies is the key to understanding the genome and enabling new discoveries. The challenge is that living organisms have a lot of DNA -- even a simple bacteria genome is made up of more than a million building blocks. The human genome has over three billion!

The sheer amount of information produced from DNA sequencing presents a tremendous opportunity for new discoveries, but also presents enormous logistic challenges. To make sense of this information, Andrey Ptitsyn, GMGI’s Director of Bioinformatics, has assembled a compact but powerful set of sophisticated computers which can store and process vast quantities of information.

The latest addition to GMGI’s computational capability is a BIOTEAM Galaxy Appliance. Acquisition of this computer is the result of a collaboration between GMGI and BIOTEAM, a high-tech company located in Middleton, MA with extensive expertise in infrastructure for scientific computing. The Galaxy Appliance is a small computer that fits under a desk yet is powerful enough to support a few scientists working on their complex projects simultaneously. It allows easy access to hundreds of sophisticated scientific applications, often making the analysis as easy as starting an app on a smartphone.

Introduction of the Galaxy Appliance will contribute to multiple projects at GMGI ranging from understanding the complex genomes of marine animals to searching for prospective drugs encoded in the genomes of microbes from the bottom of the ocean. The Galaxy Appliance will also become an instructional platform introducing students and young scientists to computational analysis of genomics data.

Click here to view the June 2018 Newsletter >>

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Genomics Institute

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