Microsoft is one of a growing number of technology companies, including Google and Amazon, that are increasingly interested in genomics. Now the company has announced that it has a novel way to speed up one of the computational aspects of sequencing a person’s whole genome: All 3 billion base pairs, or “letters,” of DNA.
On a company blog, Microsoft says that the Broad Institute is running a crucial piece of software, the Genome Analysis Toolkit, using its Azure cloud computing system. That process, it says, is now seven times faster than the previous version, which allows researchers to access sequencing data in four hours instead of 28.
In the blog post, Broad’s Geraldine Van de Auwera says this type of technology will help move genomic sequencing from research centers into the clinic for the purposes of medical care.