The main activities of the European Data Resource (EDR) concentrated on:
building up the appropriate hardware platform;
establishing internetwork communication;
implementing the standard software environment;
developing and implementing specialized (database and analysis) software for genome related problems;
user support, training and development workshops.
A SUN 4/470 Sparcserver with appropriate configuration was installed and connected to the Ethernet network. It plays the role of the central SYBASE and Genome Data Base (GDB) server for all European scientists interested in the services of the Data Resource. A CONVEX 210 minisupercomputer with appropriate network connections is the second major computer.
The Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (DKFZ) network has been integrated into European network structures through the Mannheim and Duesseldorf nodes, respectively, into Wissenschaftsnetz (WIN) through Duesseldorf into EuropaNet, and through Bonn into EBONE.
For the handling of genome data, the relational database management system SYBASE GDB Version 5.0 has been implemented and linkage analysis has been installed. The Resource Center installed and developed tools for data acquisition, validation, and electronic submission and online access is provided to major analysis tools and packages covering the structural and sequence data, genetic and physical mapping data.
The object oriented database ACEDB has been implemented on the Sparcstation. It served as a prototype database for the development of the user front end to the Integrated Genomic Database (IGD). An open software system is being developed to handle human genome data. The system, called IGD, integrates information from many genomic databases and experimental resources into a comprehensive target end database (IGD TED). Users use front end client systems (IGD FRED) to download data of interest to their computers and merge them with their own local data.
Several 1-week training workshops provided a comprehensive introduction to several important aspects of computer aided genome analysis including theoretical and hands on training in UNIX, OMIM, GDB, sequence databases and networking and an international conference on Computational Methods in Genome Research was organized by the Data Resource (July 1992).
The Human Genome Analysis Programme of the Commission of the European Communities is implementing a focused disease-orientated European research project to contribute, at several levels, to the understanding of the information contained in the human genome and to the application of this knowledge in medicine. Discussions of the Human Genome Analysis Working Party as well as of its Study Groups led to the consensus that the experimental research in the area of human genome analysis has to be complemented, from the very beginning, by powerful methods and tools of database management and data analysis.
According to the recommendations of the Study Group on Data Handling and Databases, emphasis is now on :
the definition, development and maintenance of an integrated human genome database;
the development and distribution of software for the management, access and analysis of genomic data;
the establishment of a special computer network to promote communication and collaboration between all European laboratories participating in the HGA as well as to provide them with local and remote computational resources, respectively, for the capture, exchange and analysis of human genomic data.
The project for establishing a Human Genome network (HUGEnet) as a central facility for computing services within the framework of the HGA project has been established to realize the above suggestion. All methods, computer programs, computational and network facilities, to be developed and established in Heidelberg, will be made immediately available to all interested laboratories participating in the HGA programme. The formulation of the proposal closely follows the lines set by the catalogue of questions asked for by the CAN-Committee which summarizes very well the major issues in this field.