Genome UK is an exciting and ambitious new strategy that builds upon the UK's world-leading excellence in genomics to build "the most advanced genomic healthcare system in the world". We applaud this initiative, and believe this will enable the NHS to leverage precision medicine to improve outcomes and reduce costs, significantly drive research into new treatments and diagnostics, as well as foster an ecosystem for the UK Genomics Industry to thrive.
However, this is all contingent on getting the execution right, and we have seen past ambitious genomics projects suffer due to what are "Bio-IT" issues, that is IT problems with practically handling biological datasets. Due to the scope of this initiative, and having had a great deal of experience addressing issues in this domain, we have some recommendations for how to prevent some foreseeable problems, and to make it a real success.
Our recommendations cover key issues in:
- data security and privacy, including regional encryption and data minimisation
- reducing technical barriers to ensure efficient IT and lower costs
- the need for computational reproducibility, and supporting existing pipelines
- data integrity and information loss