Amazon vs. Google: The race to win the corner market on DNA storage

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As personalized and precision medicine efforts are developed, the institutions carrying out such initiatives are creating a new arms race of sorts with regards to their cloud computing servers, according to a Reuters article.

Google Genomics and Amazon Web Services both offer storage in their clouds, and as more and more healthcare organizations collect and store personal health information in the clouds, the two corporate giants are in competition for hosting the most DNA in a market that could be valued at $1 billion by 2018, according to the report.

Though neither Google nor Amazon discloses how much genetic information they store in their respective clouds, Reuters reports Amazon's share of the market may be bigger, according to interviews with experts and company announcements regarding new customers.

Clients of Amazon include the Multiple Myeloma Foundation and the Alzheimer's Disease Sequencing Project, both of which are collecting complete genome sequences and data to identify new drug targets, according to the report. To store one human genome, Amazon charges between $4 and $5 a month.

Google's clients include the Autism Speaks foundation and Tute Genomics, which has a database of 8.5 billion human DNA variants, according to Reuters. Google's cost to store one human genome is between $3 and $5 a month.

However, both cloud servers host data from the 1000 Genomes Project, an international research project launched in 2008 that seeks to be a comprehensive resource on human genetic variation. Kathy Cravedi, director of the office of communications and public liaison at the National Institutes of Health, told Reuters both Amazon and Google store this information free of charge.

Currently, the cloud service market is mainly saturated with academic and pharmaceutical research, but Google Genomics Director of Engineering David Glazer told Reuters he expects clinical applications within the cloud to really take off over the next decade.

Other cloud companies competing in this market are IBM and Microsoft Corp.

More articles on precision medicine:

Mayo, Baylor partner on precision medicine genome sequencing in biobank
IBM Watson partners with 14 cancer centers to identify personalized treatments
NIH names leadership panel for President Obama's Precision Medicine Initiative

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