Microsoft donates open source bio project to Outercurve

The Outercurve Foundation has beefed up its open source tools for bioinformatics software. Microsoft, the primary backer of the nonprofit, has given Outercurve its .NET Bio library and API. The .NET Bio open source project is a toolkit with a variety of bioinformatics functions, the foundation said in a release.

A host of academic and corporate life sciences groups have tapped .NET Bio tools, and project committers include Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ), sequencing powerhouse Illumina ($ILMN), Microsoft ($MSFT), Cornell University and the University of Queensland, the foundation said. The project facilitates the development of bioinformatics applications, which are crucial tools to manage and analyze large amounts of biological data.

Open source projects are catching on in bioinformatics as research groups embrace them to expedite the pace of discoveries. Sage Bionetworks is one group that has worked on providing open access to models for disease researchers. The concept of open source has even found an audience among drug developers who have been willing to share intellectual property and compare notes to tackle some of the biggest global threats to human health such as HIV and tuberculosis.

"As part of the Outercurve Foundation, .NET Bio project committers will have the resources and community participation to support more complex and very large plant genomes by working with universities and consortia around the world," Tony Hey, Outercurve board member and corporate vice president of Microsoft Research Connections, said in a statement. "The project brings a strong history of consistent and dedicated community management to the Outercurve Foundation."

- here's the release