Santa Cruz Tech Beat


New Genome Browser Product Gives Freedom to Easily Collaborate in the Cloud

By Alexis Morgan
Communications Manager, Genomics Institute, UC Santa Cruz

January 23, 2017 — Santa Cruz, CA

(Image above: Here’s a screenshot of the Genome Browser Gateway webpage. Contributed.)

Until now, genomics research groups working with sensitive medical data were largely limited to using local Genome Browser installations to maintain confidentiality, complicating data-sharing among collaborators. Today, the Genome Browser group of the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute announced they have changed that by launching a new product, Genome Browser in the Cloud (GBiC). GBiC introduces new freedom to collaborate by allowing rapid Browser installation, in any UNIX-based cloud.

Users provide the cloud instance, then install the Genome Browser image and grant access to whomever needs it. GBiC functions the same and is as secure as the public version of the Genome Browser, Genome Browser in a Box (GBiB), or a Genome Browser mirror site. Another GBiC innovation is significantly reduced installation time as compared to earlier Genome Browser versions.

“We are very pleased with how this product facilitates remote collaboration –- for example, between a hospital physician, an off-site lab technician and a third-party genomic researcher,” said Genome Browser author and Principal Investigator Jim Kent. “Thanks to the efforts of GBiC Engineer Max Haeussler, users also benefit from significantly faster installation time,” Kent continued. “What historically took at least a week, now typically is less than an hour,” he said.

While the GBiC is intended specifically for cloud-based installations, its functionality is versatile. For most purposes, the GBiC essentially replaces the manual installation process for mirroring the UCSC Genome Browser in multiple environments (cloud servers, dedicated servers, or even a laptop).

GBiC is free to noncommercial users such as non-profit organizations, academic institutions, and individuals. Corporate use requires a license, a one-time setup fee of $2,000 and annual payment of $1,000 per instance. GBiC is available exclusively at the UCSC Genome Browser store,


About the UCSC Genome Browser

This interactive web-based “microscope” allows researchers to view genetic material at any scale — for example, all 23 chromosomes of the human genome — from a full chromosome down to an individual nucleotide. More than 130,000 biomedical researchers throughout the world use it each month for accessing data for more than 100 animal genomes.

The UCSC genome bioinformatics group released the first working draft of the human genome sequence on the web and launched the UCSC Genome Browser in 2001. The Genome Browser has since become an essential resource to biomedical science.

About the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute

Comprised of diverse researchers from across a variety of disciplines across academic divisions, the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute leads UC Santa Cruz’s efforts to unlock the world’s genomic data and accelerate breakthroughs in health and evolutionary biology. Our platforms, technologies, and scientists unite global communities to create and deploy data-driven, life-saving treatments and innovative environmental and conservation efforts.



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