New App to Help Scientists Study Cancer Genetics

Scientists have developed an interactive tool to help researchers and clinicians explore the genetic underpinnings of cancer.

The tool – Mutation Annotation and Genome Interpretation (Magi) – is an open-source web application that enables users to search, visualise, and annotate large public cancer genetic datasets, including data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project.

“Magi lets users explore these data in a regular web browser and with no computational expertise required,” said Max Leiserson, lead developer of the tool.

In addition to viewing TCGA data, it also allows users to upload their own data and compare their results to those in the larger databases.

Over the last decade, researchers working with TCGA have sequenced genes from thousands of tumours and dozens of cancer types in an effort to understand which mutations contribute to the development of cancer.

At the same time, as sequencing has gotten faster and cheaper, individual researchers have begun sequencing samples from their own studies, sometimes from just a few tumours.

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