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How to integrate multi-omic data

With the advent of high-throughput techniques, we have a greater capability than ever before to study a diverse range of biological datasets including genomic, proteomic, transcriptomic, epigenomic, and metabolomic evidence.

The integration of these datasets, known as “multi-omics”, allows a more holistic study of biological systems, to achive a deeper understanding of the interrelationships of biomolecules and their functions. The applications are diverse but include: disease subtyping, biomarker prediction, and deriving a broad range of insights into data.

In this summary we interview Michelle Penny, at the time, Head of the Translational Genome Sciences Group at Biogen, now Goldfinch Bio, to review some of the challenges in combining various multi-omic assays to create an interaction between differing layers of information.

Executive Summary:

  • Multi-omic data is being generated pharma from earlyphase research right through to post approval
  • Many larger pharma companies are investing in technologies and analytic capabilities for building multiomic datasets, and using the information in human target validation and clinical trial research to understand drug response and patient stratification for precision medicine
  • There may be different challenges and priorities for investing in generating and accessing multi-omic data sets in larger companies compered to smaller startups: Companies should be aware of their end goals and resources before moving to integrate all their data
  • Consistency and rigour in establishing a common vocabulary and ontologies is vital to ensure easy integration of multi-omics, as with any other dataset – ensuring data is FAIR is important here
  • While difficulties remain, new tools are constantly being developed to streamline the integration process
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A recent review article: Multi-omics Data Integration, Interpretation, and Its Application, provides a methodology, use-cases, and limitations of the tools to integrate multi-omics as well as a brief account of multi-omics data repositories and visualization portals.

More on these topics

Data Integration / Genomics / Multi-omics

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