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DNAnexus Platform Updates: A Year in Review

DNAnexus Platform Updates

Now that we’re well into the new year, is everybody remembering to sign important documents with the four-digit year instead of the two-digit year to prevent fraud and accounting disasters?

Now that we have that settled, it’s time to do a little accounting of our own. Were you aware that we made over 20 enhancements/updates to the DNAnexus Platform last year? In case you missed them, take a look at the summary of updates, below. 

New Documentation Site

We updated our documentation with new content, advanced search capabilities, and upgraded design to improve your experience! View the new documentation center at

Documentation Overview

Controlled Tool Access

We made modifications so that project admins who have clinical GxP requirements can specify a controlled list of tools at the project level that limits which tools can be run by users in that project.

Tools Library Refresh

We redesigned the Tools Library page to easily filter through Apps and Global Workflows for a seamless user experience. You can now launch Global Workflows directly from the library user interface. Learn more.

Tools Library

New Sentieon Applications

We added 7 new Sentieon applications to the DNAnexus Platform! You can access the full list of tools in your DNAnexus account here

Audit Trail Enhancements

We added a human- and machine-readable daily log of all activities related to the users and projects of your organization. Learn more about how this enhancement fulfills a 21 CFR Part 11 requirement.

Overall New Look to the UI

We updated the overall look of the user interface to be cleaner, flatter, and more modern. Primary actions now appear on the right side of the screen. As a result, you will find it easier and faster to find what you’re looking for. 

Updates to Projects 

We made multiple changes to Projects: 

  • We redesigned the Project List page with an easily filterable list of all your projects. A new “pin” feature allows you to mark your favorite projects and they will remain on top of the list! 
Demo Project
  • Projects now display a line of summary text in the main list. You can add even longer text in the Descriptions section of the Info panel.
DNAnexus Platform Projects UI
  • We added a new Info panel which allows you to quickly inspect any project when you select its row. The info panel can be opened by clicking the “i” icon in the upper right. This panel displays information (metadata, project settings, project size, etc.) which is also available in the Project Settings. Now you can access this information directly from the Project list page. The Info panel also enables you to easily copy the project ID.

Tool Runner

We modified the Tool Runner with a graphical representation of the analysis process. Each app or workflow has three areas that you can configure: Settings, Analysis Inputs, and Stage Settings.

  • Settings include execution name, project location, output folder, and optional advanced features.
  • Analysis Inputs is where you can select appropriate inputs and can toggle to batch mode. Also, you can now view all inputs in one location.
  • Stage Settings contain information about each stage of a workflow, including app version, instance type, and output folder. You can change these as desired.
DNAnexus Platform Analysis

Portal Configuration

For the portal admin, we simplified portal configuration to make it easier to design a custom experience. Learn more about DNAnexus Portals here or, if you are already a Portal customer, get the details here.

AWS Instance Types

We added new AWS instance types with high memory, better CPU, and more disk space, which result in better performance for some workflows. You can access both old and new instance types at the same time. See the documentation for more information.

HiTRUST Certification

In August of 2019, we earned HiTRUST certification. HiTRUST, short for Health Information Trust Alliance, works with organizations in healthcare, technology, and information technology to develop a standard set of controls that govern the secure storage and exchange of sensitive or regulated information, such as protected health information (PHI).

New Archival Service

We implemented a new file-based archive service, which enables you to perform simplified archive and unarchive of projects, folders, and files without a request to DNAnexus.

JupyterLab Support for GPU Instances

We added JupyterLab support for GPU instances. The DNAnexus JupyterLab environment now has CUDA (Compute Unified Device Architecture) libraries pre-installed when running on GPU-enabled instances. This update supports efficient training of sophisticated deep learning models.

New Association Browser 

We created an Association Browser to view and visualize results of Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS) and Phenome Wide Association Studies (PheWAS). Learn more.

Rich Applications in HTTPS Environment

We made some modifications such that you can access your data to build Dash, R Shiny, and TensorBoard apps and run them in the HTTPS environment. Running these apps on the DNAnexus Platform means that you can easily connect with your data within the boundaries of a secure environment.

Migration to Python Version 3.0

And finally, we took steps to help you prepare for the sunsetting of Python version 2.x. To learn more read the FAQ.

At DNAnexus, we are committed to building a platform that helps you advance scientific innovation and precision medicine. For more information, reach out and contact us.

About DNAnexus

DNAnexus the leader in biomedical informatics and data management, has created the global network for genomics and other biomedical data, operating in 33 countries including North America, Europe, China, Australia, South America, and Africa. The secure, scalable, and collaborative DNAnexus Platform helps thousands of researchers across a spectrum of industries — biopharmaceutical, bioagricultural, sequencing services, clinical diagnostics, government, and research consortia — accelerate their genomics programs.

The DNAnexus team is made up of experts in computational biology and cloud computing who work with organizations to tackle some of the most exciting opportunities in human health, making it easier—and in many cases feasible—to work with genomic data. With DNAnexus, organizations can stay a step ahead in leveraging genomics to achieve their goals. The future of human health is in genomics. DNAnexus brings it all together.