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BMC Bioinformatics. 2010 Dec 14;11:598. doi: 10.1186/1471-2105-11-598.

Initial steps towards a production platform for DNA sequence analysis on the grid.

Author information

Bioinformatics Laboratory, Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Academic Medical Center, PO Box 22700, 1100 DE Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



Bioinformatics is confronted with a new data explosion due to the availability of high throughput DNA sequencers. Data storage and analysis becomes a problem on local servers, and therefore it is needed to switch to other IT infrastructures. Grid and workflow technology can help to handle the data more efficiently, as well as facilitate collaborations. However, interfaces to grids are often unfriendly to novice users.


In this study we reused a platform that was developed in the VL-e project for the analysis of medical images. Data transfer, workflow execution and job monitoring are operated from one graphical interface. We developed workflows for two sequence alignment tools (BLAST and BLAT) as a proof of concept. The analysis time was significantly reduced. All workflows and executables are available for the members of the Dutch Life Science Grid and the VL-e Medical virtual organizations All components are open source and can be transported to other grid infrastructures.


The availability of in-house expertise and tools facilitates the usage of grid resources by new users. Our first results indicate that this is a practical, powerful and scalable solution to address the capacity and collaboration issues raised by the deployment of next generation sequencers. We currently adopt this methodology on a daily basis for DNA sequencing and other applications. More information and source code is available via

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