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ToMMO and Toshiba Demonstrate Quantum Cryptography of Whole Genome Sequence

By IQT News posted 30 Jan 2020

(HPCWire) Toshiba Corporation and the Tohoku University Tohoku Medical Megabank Organization (ToMMo) have succeeded in the world’s first quantum cryptography transmission of whole-genome sequence data with data volumes exceeding several hundred gigabytes. Since speeds for key distribution in quantum cryptographic communication technologies are currently about 10 Mbps(Note 1) at maximum, the speed at which data can be encrypted and transmitted with the one-time pad is limited. So there is a room for improvement for large-scale data transmission with the one-time pad method.
Genomic data is information tied closely to individual characteristics of human, and thus under certain conditions is legally treated as personal information identifying specific individuals Furthermore, while human genome information comprises approximately 3.2 billion bases, high-precision analysis using the latest sequencers obtains more than 90 billion bases, nearly thirty times that number. Especially, in the case of simultaneous analysis of multiple individuals, next-generation sequencers output more than several hundred gigabytes of data at a time. Storing and transporting such large amounts of confidential data requires very high-level security. Genome researchers have always been annoyed about the security of transferring large-scale genome sequence data, they sometimes physically transport hard disks in locked security boxes, which is problematic in terms of cost and time.
Toshiba and ToMMo newly developed a system for sequential encryption and transmission of large-scale data, thereby realizing real-time transmission of whole-genome sequence data with the one-time pad method. This demonstrated that quantum cryptography can transmit large amounts of data and has practical applications in the fields of genomic research and genomic medicine.

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