The FGED Society Board held a meeting in Boston in January 2012 to address best practices for functional genomics data sharing and integration especially in light of ultra high‐throughput sequencing technologies. This was a small, invitation-only meeting to help guide the future direction of the FGED Society.

    Genomics has transformed research not only by providing us with reference genome sequences for humans and other organisms, but also by introducing new technologies that are producing data at an unprecedented rate. Microarrays were the first genomic technology to have a broad impact and from them we learned the value of standardizing (to the extent possible) the data and meta‐data associated with genomic experiments and the value of sharing well‐annotated experimental data. 

    Today, with ultra high‐throughput sequencing technologies, we are seeing an even greater explosion of genomic data and we, and others, see many of the same opportunities and risks that microarrays presented. At present, there are a large number of groups working in this area and there is a real and imminent danger of individual projects generating standards that are redundant and a barrier to sharing with others. 

    A small one and one‐half day meeting focused on developing best practices for functional genomics data sharing and integration is planned to be held in Boston on January 25 and 26, 2012. We hope to bring together approximately 30 individuals drawn predominately from large consortia that are producing sequence‐based functional genomics data using a wide range of approaches. Our goal in this meeting will be to discuss a range of issues, including but not limited to: 

  1. Current and ongoing efforts in data standards development including gaps and unmet needs.
  2. Identify current issues in data sharing.
  3. Determine if there is a need for unification/further development of standards for next-generation sequence data and data sharing methods.
  4. Discuss the potential unification of standards surrounding the application of next-generation sequencing to functional genomics.
  5. Potential collaborative efforts amongst those present.

    Ultimately, what we hope to produce from our discussions is a whitepaper outlining critical issues in the field and laying the groundwork for creating workable standards for the next-generation of functional genomics experiments.