Genotyping, gene expression and genetic sequencing methods are generating large amounts of data that are potentially relevant to autism research. Collaborative efforts and a searchable, web-based repository would maximally harness this unprecedented load of information. Giovanni Coppola’s team at the University of California, Los Angeles, has created a database of about 800,000 DNA sequence variants from roughly 900 individuals in the Simons Simplex Collection (SSC), which includes data and biospecimens from 2,700 families affected by autism. The database of sequence variants is intended for browsing and data mining by autism researchers worldwide.
Coppola’s next goal is to create and maintain a web-based server to host the SSC sequencing data and to support investigators in accessing it. The long-term goal of this work is to build a multidimensional platform that is able to host genetic (sequencing, genotyping), genomic (gene expression, epigenetic) and phenotypic (neuropsychological, anatomical, etc.) data, in order to enable web-based searches and collaborative analyses among research groups.