Google is partnering with the nation’s largest autism advocacy organization in what’s being called an unprecedented move that could transform what’s known about the developmental disorder.

Autism Speaks said Google will house data from the complete genomes of 10,000 people with autism and their families on its servers in a format that’s readily accessible to researchers online.

The collaboration is a “game-changer,” according to Rob Ring, chief science officer at Autism Speaks. Traditionally, sharing this type of genomic information involved transporting physical hard drives.

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Google’s computing power will change that, putting what’s expected to be the world’s largest database of genomic sequence information on individuals with autism and their family members at the fingertips of scientists worldwide.

“Modern biology has become a data-limited science. Modern computing can remove those limits,” said David Glazer, engineering director for Google Genomics.

Officials with Autism Speaks say the effort, which is part of the group’s AUT10K program, could help uncover causes and subtypes of autism while also identifying better diagnosis and treatment methods.

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