GBrowse, a genome browser, is packaged for Debian since three weeks. It is the result of a work started four years ago, and I am especially grateful to Olivier Sallou for having unblocked and finished the project while I was starting to go round in circles, and to Aaron M. Ucko for repairing the new package, that was not compatible with our build farm.

GBrowse and similar software, like IGV, are used for graphical representation of a chromosome and its annotations, such as the gene positions and markers of their activity, and in particular the result of experiments using high throughput DNA sequencing. A Debian Med task is actually dedicated to gather programs for that topic.

In a couple of years, it may be possible that any person who wants can sequence his chromosomes, that is, his genome. This will revolution medicine — and perhaps break some founding myths. Even if software for the general public will look different, packages like gbrowse are a first step towards a better access of the public to his medical data.

Work continues on GBrowse, with the goal of being able to install it with a reference version of the human genome with a command like apt-get install human-genome. The next step will be to update BioPerl, used by GBrowse, to version 1.6.9.