Type of data of interest

I would like to consider

  • Genetics data (SNP, microsatelites, whole genome sequencing, RFLP, ...)
  • Genetic - phenotype data (disease-related data, QTL, etc...)
  • Sequence annotation and function
  • Transcriptomic data

I would like to include data on any living thing (including data from fossils) and not only human data. To avoid issues of semantic I would leave out epigenetic data.


How much (in bytes) of such data is available in Open Access online?


I realize getting to such estimate might be hard and the estimate may be very inaccurate. Also, the format used for storing these data will definitely affect the relationship between information content and storage usage. But if someone can give just a rough order of magnitude, a vague intuition, it would already help. Is it a few terabytes or a few petabyte or even more?

I would welcome as well a detail of how you got to this estimate. I am particularly interested in what fraction of it is human data (if you happen to get to such fine detail).

  • $\begingroup$ Despite all your tags, I rather think this is off-topic for biology. Regardless, I would imagine that if you checked how much NCBI has in GenBank that would give you the order of magnitude you need. $\endgroup$ – David Feb 8 '18 at 18:18
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    $\begingroup$ Functional annotations etc will be negligible, as the size of largest databases (e.g.: Interpro, or EBI GTX) only is 100GB. For sequences, it depends, if you save difference to references. Otherwise you can extrapolate from NCBI statistics - as also noted by David -, that - depending on sequence complexity - you'd be in double digit petabytes ( ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/genbank/statistics ) ; note that sequencing information is small compared to image-based biological data, and the - open / not licensed - image information contained in old books and texts could easily exceed petabyte $\endgroup$ – tsttst Feb 9 '18 at 6:55
  • $\begingroup$ Can you clarify which type of data you are looking for and what for? There are lots of public databases with all sorts of information. And obviously most of it is redundant. Coming back to you question I'd say there is much more data publically available that not even the most powerful supercomputer would be able to handle. But as I said, it depens on what you want to do with it. $\endgroup$ – aLbAc Feb 13 '18 at 18:08
  • $\begingroup$ @aLbAc I don't intend to do anything with these data right now. My question comes out of curiosity mainly. I was just trying to get an appreciation of how much data we are producing and storing in genetics. $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Feb 13 '18 at 18:15
  • $\begingroup$ The answer is "huge amounts" and increasing exponentially with the new generation of high througput sequencers. $\endgroup$ – aLbAc Feb 13 '18 at 18:20