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Open Source Library for Visual Exploration of Genomic Data

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Without new tools that dramatically increase the efficiency of genomics applied informatics, the annual costs associated with the analysis and interpretation of biological data is set increase significantly. Therefore, The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) has received funding to develop an open source web interface coupled to visualise genomic data from the Repositive.io platform which will enable visual exploration solutions for genomics.

To learn more about the funding provided by Norwich Research Park Translational Fund and the Façade project we spoke to Project Lead, Manuel Corpas,

JR: A number of projects at TGAC have recently received funding from the Norwich Research Park Translational Fund. Could you tell us about your particular project and why this funding is so important?

MC: Façade is an innovative interface that tries to bring closer to the user the many benefits that genome technology has brought with its latest advances. Unfortunately despite the progress, there is still a lot of work to do to make genome analysis results presented in a manner that is intuitive to understand. We want to lower the barrier for non-technical people to be able to access and interpret their hypotheses without having to know a lot of computer science.

JR: How is your software different to what is already available?

MC: The main strength of the software is that it builds on the BioJS library for visualisation of high throughput genomic data and the Repositive platform. We will provide an interface that builds on Repositive’s innovative distributed platform that agglomerates data from many disparate sources under a single interface.

JR: Your projects aims to improve the ability of clinicians and researchers to diagnose diseases with a genetic basis, how will this be achieved?

MC: We want to make it easy for non-technical people to access data visualisation tools that allow them to quickly test hypotheses, i.e., ask questions on the spot, without having to care about data formats, software versions or operating systems. We want to provide to clinical practitioners a layer of abstraction that simplifies their access to results quickly and interactively.

JR: What impact do you hope the Façade project will have on scientists working with ‘big data’?

MC: Façade will fasten the process of accessing and interpreting results. The way discovery is done is not in a linear manner. The clinician needs to try many different ways in which to visualise his/her data. Because façade is specifically tailored to visualisation of genomic data queries, we will bridge the current gap between the need for knowledge discovery and the presentation of results after querying complex heterogeneous genomic datasets.

Manuel Corpas was speaking to Jack Rudd, Editor for Technology Networks.