Recently, the Broad Institute announced a new tool: GenomeSpace. When I first looked at it, admittedly a very cursory look, I wasn’t sure how it would be much different than an integrator of tools like Galaxy or GenePattern. Obviously that cursory look was wrong at first glance since both Galaxy and GenePattern are in their list of tools that are supported. So what is GenomeSpace? Well, you can read the answer here at their “What is GenomeSpace” page :). Basically, GenomeSpace has several functions. As described here, “GenomeSpace supports several bioinformatics tools, all integrated to allow easy accessibility, easy conversion, and frictionless sharing.” It is a space (in that every expanding Amazon cloud) that allows you to store your data files and, importantly, GenomeSpace allows you to seamlessly move those files between the tools to complete complex, or simple, analyses. It achieves this by automatically converting file formats and by allowing the user to attach their accounts at the tools to their account at GenomeSpace, thus alleviating the need to log in several times when using more than one tool.
To get a good idea of what GenomeSpace might be able to do for a researcher, check out the recipes on the site. As Anton states:
GenomeSpace is an integration of integrators,” Nekrutenko said. “The benefit to the user is that this brings together distinctive collections of functionalities offered by individual tools.”
The site is new, and only in beta. They only recently opened up registration from their invite-only stage. As such, there are some bugs and some features that aren’t quite at full capacity. For example, the Galaxy and UCSC Table Browser integration is with the test versions of those tools during beta. Thus, for example, your account at Galaxy will not be recognized when trying to link that account with GenomeSpace. I had to create a new one on the test site. And, if you go to the public version of the Table Browser, it will look different (no link to GenomeSpace as there is on the test site). Currently there are seven tools, more to come.
All that aside, it’s definitely a tool to get acquainted with. And with that in mind, take a quick introductory spin with me in this week’s video tip to get an idea of what you might be able to do.