Draft guidelines issued regarding biological data storage for research purposes
With advances in DNA sequencing and other technologies like imaging of cells and molecules and gene expression, the department of biotechnology has put out draft guidelines on storing and sharing biological data for research purposes.
The guidelines lay stress on making large banks of biological data accessible within reasonable periods of time to facilitate research, especially data generated with public funds. “Public resource data must be shared rapidly after generation and curation,” it says.
Suggestions on the guidelines have been invited for a month.
To ensure the organisation generating the data has “privileged access” to it, there will be a period of moratorium before the data is released.
To enhance use of the data, metadata must also be released in a timely manner.
“Now, we will have a clearly defined policy on sharing biological data. So far, it was being done on a case-to-case basis. There is a huge amount of data being generated, especially with the initiative of cataloguing the Indian genome. Currently, all this data is lying scattered in different places.
The guidelines allow for easily sharing the data not just with public research facilities, but also private labs and even for international collaborations,” said Dr Renu Swarup, secretary, Department of Biotechnology.
“However, we need to be clear on why and for what purpose the data is being shared. The researchers or organisations using the data will also have to give an undertaking that the data will be used only for the purpose it has been specified,” she said.
“The guidelines aim to create a central National Biological Data Bank, which will take some time to come up. We are still looking at the model that can be followed...” said Swarup.