The availability of high-throughput DNA sequencing technologies opens up new perspectives in the treatment of several diseases, making possible the introduction of new global approaches in public health known as “precision medicine”. While routine DNA sequencing in the doctor’s office is still not current practice, medical centres have begun to use sequencing to identify cancer and other diseases and to find effective treatments. As DNA sequencing technologies produce extremely large amounts of DNA sequence data and related information, the ICT costs of storage, transmission, and processing are also very high. The MPEG-G standard addresses and solves the problem of efficient and economical handling of genomic data by providing new compression and transport technologies.
The MPEG-G standards are the results of the synthesis of technologies collected in response to a Call for Proposals issued at MPEG’s 115th meeting in collaboration with the working group for standardization of data processing and integration of the ISO Technical Committee for biotechnology standards (ISO TC 276/WG 5).
At its 120th meeting, MPEG promoted its first set of specifications of the family of MPEG-G standards to Committee Draft (CD) level. These standards provide a new compression technology (ISO/IEC 23092-2) for genomic sequencing data and a set of technologies (ISO/IEC 23092-1) supporting rich functionality for the transport of genomic data on networks and the storage of the data in files. The further standardization plan for MPEG-G includes the Committee Drafts for metadata and APIs (ISO/IEC 23092-3) and reference software (ISO/IEC 23092-4), which are to be issued at the next MPEG meeting with the objective of producing Draft International Standards (DIS) at the end of 2018.