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Software developed by Boston College lab delivers speed and accuracy to genome research
Date:3/27/2008

CHESTNUT HILL, MA It took a global corps of scientists approximately $500 million and 13 years to identify the more than 35,000 genes of the human genome. Five years later, Boston College Biologist Gabor Marth and his research team have developed software that can analyze half a million DNA sequences in 10 minutes.

The Marth laboratorys proprietary PyroBayes software is one of a new breed of computer programs able to accurately process the mountains of genome data flowing from the latest generation of gene decoding machines, which have placed a premium on computational speed and accuracy in data-crunching fields known as bioinformatics and high-throughput biology, said Marth, an associate professor of Biology.

Were on the edge of a real technological revolution that I think will help us understand the genetic causes of diseases in humans and how genetic materials determine traits in animals, said Marth. It is going to lead to less expensive technologies that will allow researchers to decode any individual.

PyroBayes will aid researchers involved in the 1,000 Genomes Project, which announced last month a plan to sequence the genomes of 1,000 individuals from around the world. The NIH, which helps direct the project, has awarded Marth more than $1.3 million to develop software over the next four years.

The advances of the Marth lab were revealed in two articles published by the professor and his assistants in the February issue of Nature Methods, the premier journal of scientific research methodology.

In an article co-authored by Marth, post-doctoral researcher Chip Stewart, and graduate students Aaron Quinlan and Mike Strmberg, the group unveiled the labs PyroBayes base caller software, which examines data from one of the latest generation of DNA decoding machines from Roche / 454 Life Sciences faster and with far greater accuracy than other programs for pyrosequencing, a technology that utilizes the detection of
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Contact: Ed Hayward
ed.hayward@bc.edu
617-552-4826
Boston College
Source:Eurekalert

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