Genomic data transfer at nearly 10 gigabits per second between US and China

June 30, 2012

BGI's servers (credit: BGI)

A group of scientists and researchers successfully demonstrated genomic data transfer at a sustained rate of almost 10 Gigabits per second (Gbps) over a new link connecting U.S. and China research and education networksBGI, the world’s largest genomics organization, announced today.

This data rate is equivalent to moving more than 100 million megabytes — more than 5,400 full Blu-ray discs — in a single day.

The data transfer demonstration was part of a June 22 event in Beijing celebrating a new 10 Gigabit U,S.- China network connection supported by Internet2, the China Education and Research Network (CERNET), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and Indiana University.

BGI performed the live demos of ultra high-speed data exchanges between the three world-class genomics institutions.  For example, BGI transferred 24 gigabytes of genomic data from Beijing to UC Davis in less than 30 seconds.  A file of the same size sent over the public Internet a few days earlier took more than 26 hours.

“The use of a 10 Gigabit network connection will enable scientists in the genomics-related fields to communicate and transfer data more rapidly and conveniently, and bring the best minds together to better explore the mysteries of life science,” said Dr. Dawei Lin, Director of Bioinformatics Core of Genome Center;and National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)

Genomics has revolutionized the life sciences. While the cost of DNA sequencing is steadily decreasing, the amount of data generated with next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies is growing at an unprecedented pace. How to conveniently share the tremendous volume of data has become a significant research bottleneck. The 10 Gigabit Internet connection may provide a significant new tool for tackling “big data” and increasing scientific collaboration, education and cultural exchange between the two countries.