Since its foundation, GenomSoft is working with a group of international experts in the fields of information theory, data compression and bioinformatics for the development of MPEG-G, an open standard specification that will be maintained and supported by ISO.

In its 30 years of activity ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29/WG 11 – also known as Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) – has developed many generations of successful standards that have transformed the world of media from analog to digital. Video, audio compression and transport technologies, as well as application formats and APIs, have provided the standard support enabling the interoperability and the integration we all witness in the digital media field.
ISO TC 276 has recently been established to work on the standardization of biotechnology processes including data processing and integration (Working Group 5).

MPEG, as developer of generic standard technologies is working on MPEG-G with ISO TC 276/WG 5 to produce a new open standard to compress, store, transmit and process genome sequencing data. The standard will offer high levels of compression, enhanced selective access and streaming capabilities, standard APIs for the implementation of security and annotation applications and a rigorous protocol for conformance testing. This will enable the implementation of enterprise-grade genome processing applications which will take genomic medicine to a global scale.

Interoperability and integration with existing genomic information processing pipelines is enabled by supporting conversion from/to the legacy FASTQ/SAM/BAM file formats.

The MPEG-G standard, planned to be released in April 2019, is currently the largest coordinated and international effort addressing the problems and limitations of current technologies and products towards a truly efficient and economical handling of genomic information. MPEG-G utilizes the latest technology to compress and transport sequencing data for complex use cases that are currently not supported by existing formats. Notable use cases addressed by MPEG-G include:

  • Selective access to compressed data
  • Data streaming
  • Compressed file concatenation
  • Genomic studies aggregation
  • Enforcement of privacy rules
  • Selective encryption of sequencing data and metadata
  • Annotation and linkage of genomic segments
  • Interoperability with main existing technologies and legacy formats
  • Incremental update of sequencing data and metadata