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Google and Autism Speaks Partner Up on AUT10K Program

Autism Speaks, an organization dedicated to researching and increasing awareness of autism, yesterday announced plans to collaborate with Google on its AUT10K genome-mapping program.  Google will provide access to its cloud technology, allowing Autism Speaks to upload and store the sequencing of more than 10,000 human genomes- the world’s largest database of genomic sequence information on people with autism. 

With the discovery of multiple forms of autism, researchers have found that whole-genome sequencing is key to understanding the disorder.  However, a single digital representation of one genome requires around 100 gigabytes of storage space.  That means that a regular desktop computer may only be capable of holding approximately ten whole genomes. 

In partnering with Google, and gaining access to the tech company’s cloud storage technology, Autism Speaks hopes to significantly accelerate the research being done both on causes of autism and potential cures. Bob Wright, co-founder of Autism Speaks, commented that, “This announcement represents an unprecedented intersection of business, science and philanthropy that will drastically accelerate the pace of autism research…Utilizing Google Cloud Platform further advances Autism Speaks’ commitment to advancing cutting-edge science.”

Google has been a long-time supporter of advancements in health care and science, lending itself to companies like Calico, 23andMe and investing in its very own Google X lab.  Now, the tech giant hopes to help pave the way to a cure for autism by offering storage technology and analytical tools that make clinical information easier for researchers to collect, process, and share.

Chief Science Officer of Autism Speaks, Robert Ring, wrote in a recent blog entry for the company that, “This project holds the potential to reveal important clues about what causes autism and unlock the knowledge essential for improving the precision of medical care that’s needed by many of those living on the autism spectrum.

To find out more about this exciting collaboration, click here.