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Autism DNA hub opens

WuXi NextCODE, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the New York–based Simons Foundation in March announced they would jointly make the world's largest autism dataset, the Simons Simplex Collection (SSC), available to researchers online. This collaboration is a step towards enabling researchers to use the internet to make large-scale genome comparisons. The SSC, part of the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI), is a permanent repository of genetic samples comprising 10,000 exomes from 2,600 so-called 'simplex' families, where one child is affected by an autism spectrum disorder, whereas parents and siblings are unaffected. The repository is already accessible to autism researchers from 17 leading institutions from the US, Canada, China, France, Iceland, Austria, Ireland, Brazil and Qatar, but with the new initiative, researchers worldwide can apply for access to the company's cloud-based database, the WuXi NextCODE Exchange. The SSC can now serve as the hub of an ever-growing network of autism datasets, said Louis Reichardt, SFARI's director, in a company release. The partnership is a way for big genomics to accelerate the understanding of autism and other complex conditions, said Timothy Yu, a clinician and assistant professor of neurology at Boston Children's Hospital. “This is a game-changer, and we are already using the WuXi NextCODE SSC portal to validate and extend new discoveries and confirm clinical diagnoses,” said Yu.

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Autism DNA hub opens. Nat Biotechnol 34, 364 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/nbt0416-364

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