Finding the Way Forward
New IDAWG Survey Results Confirm Need for Standardized Management of Immunogenomic and Histocompatibility Data
"One of the biggest issues with the kind of data we deal with is the ambiguity in the results from genotyping. The genes are so variable that even using next generation sequencing methods, we wind up with data that is very ambiguous," explains Dr. Hollenbach.
Immunogenomics and histocompatibility researchers have historically addressed that ambiguity on an ad hoc basis. Consequently, results have been very difficult to duplicate, and thus confirm, across different research groups.
"Our field produces hundreds of publications a year," says Dr. Hollenbach. "These studies are on the same genes that are genotyped for tissue compatibility anytime someone needs a transplantation, these studies are on the same genes that are primarily involved in most, if not all, autoimmune diseases and potentially many infectious diseases as well. There is a huge need to standardize our methods so that our results can be duplicated and confirmed."
To address this need, the IDAWG group developed a survey to identify what researchers are already doing, what kind of methods they currently use, how they deal with core issues, and what software they use.
"We got nearly 200 responses from all over the world that represents a significant portion of our community, which is a fairly small niche field," says Dr. Hollenbach.
The survey clearly showed that research groups that analyzed the same data using different methods to resolve the ambiguity in the data generated different results.
In the wake of the results, Drs. Hollenbach and Mack are working to develop software that will provide a standardized means of resolving the ambiguity.
"By standardizing the way data is managed and analyzed," says Dr. Hollenbach, "We will at last be able to standardize the results from these studies."
Monday, May 20, 2013 3:18 PM