Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Whole genome analysis, stat

20.02.2014
Supercomputer dramatically accelerates rapid genome analysis

Although the time and cost of sequencing an entire human genome has plummeted, analyzing the resulting three billion base pairs of genetic information from a single genome can take many months.


Beagle, a Cray XE6 supercomputer at Argonne National Laboratory, supports computation, simulation and data analysis for the biomedical research community.

Credit: Argonne National Laboratory

In the journal Bioinformatics, however, a University of Chicago-based team—working with Beagle, one of the world's fastest supercomputers devoted to life sciences—reports that genome analysis can be radically accelerated. This computer, based at Argonne National Laboratory, is able to analyze 240 full genomes in about two days.

"This is a resource that can change patient management and, over time, add depth to our understanding of the genetic causes of risk and disease," said study author Elizabeth McNally, MD, PhD, the A. J. Carlson Professor of Medicine and Human Genetics and director of the Cardiovascular Genetics clinic at the University of Chicago Medicine.

"The supercomputer can process many genomes simultaneously rather than one at a time," said first author Megan Puckelwartz, a graduate student in McNally's laboratory. "It converts whole genome sequencing, which has primarily been used as a research tool, into something that is immediately valuable for patient care."

Because the genome is so vast, those involved in clinical genetics have turned to exome sequencing, which focuses on the two percent or less of the genome that codes for proteins. This approach is often useful. An estimated 85 percent of disease-causing mutations are located in coding regions. But the rest, about 15 percent of clinically significant mutations, come from non-coding regions, once referred to as "junk DNA" but now known to serve important functions. If not for the tremendous data-processing challenges of analysis, whole genome sequencing would be the method of choice.

To test the system, McNally's team used raw sequencing data from 61 human genomes and analyzed that data on Beagle. They used publicly available software packages and one quarter of the computer's total capacity. They found that shifting to the supercomputer environment improved accuracy and dramatically accelerated speed.

"Improving analysis through both speed and accuracy reduces the price per genome," McNally said. "With this approach, the price for analyzing an entire genome is less than the cost of the looking at just a fraction of genome. New technology promises to bring the costs of sequencing down to around $1,000 per genome. Our goal is get the cost of analysis down into that range."

"This work vividly demonstrates the benefits of dedicating a powerful supercomputer resource to biomedical research," said co-author Ian Foster, director of the Computation Institute and Arthur Holly Compton Distinguished Service Professor of Computer Science. "The methods developed here will be instrumental in relieving the data analysis bottleneck that researchers face as genetic sequencing grows cheaper and faster."

The finding has immediate medical applications. McNally's Cardiovascular Genetics clinic, for example, relies on rigorous interrogation of the genes from an initial patient as well as multiple family members to understand, treat and prevent disease. More than 50 genes can contribute to cardiomyopathy. Other genes can trigger heart failure, rhythm disorders or vascular problems.

"We start genetic testing with the patient," she said, "but when we find a significant mutation we have to think about testing the whole family to identify individuals at risk."

The range of testable mutations has radically expanded. "In the early days we would test one to three genes," she said. "In 2007, we did our first five-gene panel. Now we order 50 to 70 genes at a time, which usually gets us an answer. At that point, it can be more useful and less expensive to sequence the whole genome."

The information from these genomes combined with careful attention to patient and family histories "adds to our knowledge about these inherited disorders," McNally said. "It can refine the classification of these disorders," she said. "By paying close attention to family members with genes that place then at increased risk, but who do not yet show signs of disease, we can investigate early phases of a disorder. In this setting, each patient is a big-data problem."

Beagle, a Cray XE6 supercomputer housed in the Theory and Computing Sciences (TCS) building at Argonne National Laboratory, supports computation, simulation and data analysis for the biomedical research community. It is available for use by University of Chicago researchers, their collaborators and "other meritorious investigators." It was named after the HMS Beagle, the ship that carried Charles Darwin on his famous scientific voyage in 1831.

The National Institutes of Health and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation funded this study. Additional authors include Lorenzo Pesce, Viswateja Nelakuditi, Lisa Dellefave-Castillo and Jessica Golbus of the University of Chicago; Sharlene Day of the University of Michigan; Thomas Coppola of the University of Pennsylvania; and Gerald Dorn of Washington University.

John Easton | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uchospitals.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

nachricht Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>