HIMSS Insights speaks to Mikel Hernaez, director of computational genomics at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois, who is part of a standardisation initiative, in which the Moving Picture Expert Group (MPEG) and the ISO Technical Committee 276 are joining forces: “Our goal is to produce MPEG-G, a new open standard for genomic information representation. It is expected to aid significantly the storage, transmission, and most importantly, the processing of raw and aligned sequencing data.”
Together with colleagues, Hernaez has recently authored the first comprehensive publication on the MPEG-G work on the bioRxiv preprint server. He sees a considerable need for a new genomic compression standard: “Genomic data is still largely stored using compression algorithms that perform poorly in practice. I believe that the fact that most existing compressors are not guaranteed to be long-term maintained poses the largest barrier for adoption of genomic data compression technologies.” With MPEG-G, this will be different, according to Hernaez: “Given its ISO standard designation, it is guaranteed that a file compressed according to the MPEG-G specifications will be accessible for life.”
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