Human genomes as email attachments

Bioinformatics. 2009 Jan 15;25(2):274-5. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btn582. Epub 2008 Nov 7.


The amount of genomic sequence data being generated and made available through public databases continues to increase at an ever-expanding rate. Downloading, copying, sharing and manipulating these large datasets are becoming difficult and time consuming for researchers. We need to consider using advanced compression techniques as part of a standard data format for genomic data. The inherent structure of genome data allows for more efficient lossless compression than can be obtained through the use of generic compression programs. We apply a series of techniques to James Watson's genome that in combination reduce it to a mere 4MB, small enough to be sent as an email attachment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Data Compression / methods*
  • Databases, Genetic*
  • Electronic Mail*
  • Genome, Human*
  • Humans