New Standards in Biotechnology

26-May-2015 - Germany

A new working group for data processing and integration in biotechnology has been set up by the International Organization for Standardization, ISO. The working group aims to define consistent standards for the formatting, transfer and integration of life science data and models. The working group will be led by Martin Golebiewski, a biochemist at the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS). Interested scientists are invited to participate.

Modern biotechnology is a rapidly growing field of research. Worldwide, numerous laboratories and research groups are producing huge amounts of data that they analyze with computers and then use to develop computational models. There are currently few generally binding standards for the laboratory experiments and the computer-aided processing of the results. ISO intends to change this by establishing standards for the formatting, transfer, and integration of the data and models generated by different methods. Such consistent standards would be of high value for industrial, agricultural, and medical applications.

During the last meeting in Shenzhen, China, the ISO Technical Committee ISO/TC 276 Biotechnology founded a new working group for „Data processing and integration“. The objective is to standardize interfaces between different data formats in order to facilitate the exchange and combination of data and computer models. With this aim, the committee will integrate “de facto” standards currently used in science. Martin Golebiewski, from the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS), Germany, has been appointed convener of the new ISO working group. He is already coordinator of the German NORMSYS-Project which focuses on standardizing models and data in systems biology. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and is carried out in collaboration with the University of Potsdam and the Berlin-based start-up business LifeGlimmer GmbH, with the aim of bringing system biologists in academia and industry together to agree on standards.

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