FDA, George Washington University publish framework to streamline genomic data analysis

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Washington, D.C.-based George Washington University published a framework to promote standards for bioinformatics research.

The framework, called the "BioCompute Object Specification Document" and published on the Open Science Framework website, details research standards to improve communication related to high-throughput sequencing computations and data analysis.

FDA and GW created the framework in collaboration with researchers from Boston-based Harvard Medical School and Cambridge, Mass.-based Seven Bridges Genomics, along with 300-plus medical researchers, pharmaceutical scientists and bioinformaticians, among other stakeholders.

The collaborators' goal is to standardize data analysis workflows and improve transparency around bioinformatics research. The lack of common language surrounding computational biology leads researchers to use disparate research software, parameters and protocols, according to GW officials.

"With standards for [BioCompute Objects], researchers will receive better information when comparing or building on existing research," said Raja Mazumder, PhD, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular medicine at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

A common framework will also streamline data exchange between the FDA, pharmaceutical companies, bioinformaticians and researchers as they work through the regulatory submission process.

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