Blogosphere catches: Marco Island, finding Ada and blog carnivals

Some interesting events cropped up recently. The Marco Island Advances in Genome Biology and Technology meeting was heavily tweeted and blogged about.  Pacific Biosciences unveiled their third generation sequencer. Ostensibly, it can sequence reads of 20,000 length, but the fraction of actual long reads in a run, and their quality is still a bit hazy. The most interested to me is the Ion Torrent. Being rather low on budget, this seems like the family budget car of high throughput sequencing: cheap, reliable, and does not offer more than I really need. $50,000 for a sequencer with $500 runs with 160MB/hr? Nice. Genetic Inference has a great summary of the various technologies presented.

Overall, we are starting to see a divergence in sequencing technologies, as each tech concentrates on having clearly defined advantages and potential applications that differ from all others. This means that the scientists themselves can more closely tailor their choice of tech to fit their situation. Are you a small lab that needs 10 high-quality genomes on a budget? Go to Complete. Want a cheap, fast machine for library validation? Use Ion Torrent. Setting up a pipeline for sequencing thousands of genomes? Go Illumina.

The review article on metagenomics I recently published in PLoS Computational Biology (yeah, yeah, shameless plug) already starts to feels somewhat outdated on the sequencing technology front.

Carnival of Evolution #21 the superstar edition is up: check it out. It’s a nice and detailed one,. Some posts I liked included talking about how human fingers evolved, and why it is important to consult evolutionary biologists when making decision about conservation.

An interesting email I got yesterday: PubGet, a search engine for PDFs of scientific articles, is no linked to PLoS. PubGet is a very useful service that gets  you the article PDF immediately, without going through he usual clickeroo via Google,  pubmed, publisher’s gateway, journal gateway and then squinting along the sidebar to find the PDF link. Nice to see that these two are teaming up.

Finally, two reminders. First, Ada Lovelace day, a blogging day celebrating the achievements of women in science and technology is coming up, March 24. Go ahead, pledge and blog! Second, the Byte Size Biology will be hosting a Carnival of Bioinformatics. Quite a few posts have been submitted already, please submit yours, deadline: March 9.

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