Researchers shatter record with U.S.-China genomic data transfer

Accomplishing what took more than a day via the public Internet, a group in Beijing sent a huge amount of genomic data over a 10-gigabit network connection to collaborators at the University of California, Davis, in less than 30 seconds. BGI, a China-based genomics outfit involved in the feat, says that the speed of the ultra-fast data transfer would be like moving 100 megabytes or more than 5,400 Blu-ray disks in one day.

BGI and other DNA sequencing providers decode genomes quickly and cheaply compared with speeds and prices a few years ago, but a lack of easy ways to share the colossal datasets among researchers in different locations has created a "bottleneck," according to BGI. On June 22 the company and others demoed the 10-gigabyte Internet connection, which has support from Internet2, the China Education and Research Network, Indiana University and the National Science Foundation. Aspera pitched in with the software that enables rapid data transfers.

"The 10 Gigabit network connection is even faster than transferring data to most local hard drives," Dawei Lin, a project stakeholder and director of bioinformatics core at the UC Davis Genome Center, said in a statement. "The use of a 10 Gigabit network connection will be groundbreaking, very much like email replacing hand delivered mail for communication. It will enable scientists in the genomics-related fields to communicate and transfer data more rapidly and conveniently, and bring the best minds together to better explore the mysteries of life science."

"The massive speeds demonstrated are, to our knowledge, the fastest file transfers over public WAN at such distances using commodity hardware," said Michelle Munson, CEO of Aspera, as quoted by Bio-IT World.

BGI aims to wrap the speedy data transfers into its genomics services, yet the company's cloud computing chief, Xing Xu, told Bio-IT World that cost and capacity issues could impact routine use of the network.

- here's the release
- read Bio-IT World's article

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