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Microsoft Research has been working in the area of genomics for more than a decade. Its innovation continues with projects like FaST-LMM for GWAS, homomorphic encryption, and the Literome project. Today, Microsoft announced that they have come up with a way to significantly reduce the time it takes to do the major computational aspects of sequencing a genome.
Microsoft’s method of running the Burrows-Wheeler Aligner (BWA) and the Broad Institute’s Genome Analysis Toolkit (GATK) on the Azure is seven times faster than the previous version, allowing researchers and medical professionals to get results in just four hours instead of 28. BWA and GATK are two of the most common computational tools used in combination for genome sequencing. This is a significant improvement as it could allow doctors to diagnose rare and dangerous genetic conditions 24 hours earlier, getting the patient lifesaving treatment faster.
Microsoft holds a non-exclusive license from the Broad Institute to provide GATK on Azure. Microsoft now has plans to work with the Broad Institute to incorporate these performance improvements into future versions of GATK. Broad Institute would then make these improvements available to researchers.
Read more about it here.