For the third year in a row, we’re lucky to have student developers working with us as part of Google Summer of Code. We’ve got three GSOC-ers this year, working on some really exciting projects: Zeyu Tony Yang, working on primary genome analysis, Nabil Ibtehaz, working on transcript-level orthology and Somesh Chaturvedi, working on retrieving reference sequences with APIs.

GSOC is a project set up by Google that places students in open source projects to take on a short independent coding project, and pays them for it. We have to pass rigorous selection criteria to be allowed to offer projects on GSOC, and the students have to be selected by both Google and us to take part. It means the GSOC-ers are the Top Gun of student developers. We think this is a really great opportunity, both for open source projects like us, who get a fresh pair of eyes to take a look at something that we’ve maybe put on the back-burner, and for the students, who get experience working on a real-world coding project during their university summer break.

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From Ensembl 93 onwards, we plan to recommend newer versions of Perl (5.14- 5.26) and BioPerl (1.6.924) when using the Ensembl Perl API. This may affect pipelines which employ the Ensembl Perl API, since we will no longer actively support older versions of Perl and BioPerl.

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Both Ensembl release 93 and Ensembl Genomes release 40 are scheduled for late June and early July 2018, respectively.

Included are a number of new genomes and genebuilds for vertebrates and plants (including leopard, Amur tiger, hagfish, pigeon pea, carrot and adzuki bean) and significant updates to the mouse GENCODE annotation and regulatory build. This release will also bring a new import of variants from dbSNP for human, and allele frequencies for dog variation data!

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Some Variant Effect Predictor (VEP) jobs are small, just ten or fewer variants, and that’s easy. Some VEP jobs are big, if you do variant calling on one whole human genome, that’s five million variants! The more variants you have, the more computing power the VEP needs to process them, which can make it slow. But there are ways to speed it up.

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