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New Webservices -Bill Gates meets Craig Venter

New directions for Webservices -Bill Gates meets Craig Venter
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Hi All,

For some time now I've been watching and intrigued by
happenings in the LifeSciences area.

  In particular, the human genome has been sequenced and the
  debate is currently focused on "How many human genes" and
  how to determine the proteins from those genes -- and thus
  make targeted drugs....

All of this is very fascinating and impactful - and will
become more so when Bill Gates meets Craig Venter (recently
of Celera Genomics - first to sequence the human genome)
next month to bring Microsoft into the hunt for best ways to
get all this bioinformatics data into the right hands where
people's lives can be affected and improved. We will see if
these two big-shot guys can get along?

My question is this:

  It seems to me that this is one area that is ripe for
  webservices:
 
    All this gene and protein data is sitting out these in
    mostly FREE databases and the main thing missing is to
    get the data in the proper useful understandable form
    into the right hands.
 
  And with Microsoft office now emphasizing webservices
  capabilities (XDocs and the webservices toolkits) the best
  way to get this information in front of people would to be
  to bring it right into the Microsoft Office tools (Word,
  Access, Excel...) and thus right into the average Web-
  Connected medical office anywhere.
 
  So I was wondering if any of you know have any ideas,
  suggestions or insights into this new direction - and I
  think one of the very-best potential uses of webservices
  and the .Net platform.
 
Thanks
Gene

Eugene Mortimore
Thursday, October 17, 2002

I actually did a bunch of web front ends to genome databases back in the day (1998), long before web services were a buzzword. Many of the sites functioned as defacto web-services anyway -- for instance, ClustalW, a sequence alignment algorithm, was a available from a web form.

Anyway, there is a lot of genome data out there. The problem is that its nigh useless to a layman. The functions of most of the genes are unknown, and it's not clear what a doctor at this point would be able to do with the information even if it were easy to obtain.

If you're curious, here are a couple sites from the lab that I worked at:

http://snp.cshl.org/ (click on a chromosome to play around)

http://www.dnalc.org/bioserver/

Matt Christensen
Thursday, October 17, 2002

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