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Family genetics in Star Wars (Warning: Episode VII spoilers)

So I saw Star Wars VII: “The Force Awakens” the other day. Great movie, which has mostly erased the shame of episodes I-III. Despite even more than the usual suspension of science, it’s a great SF flick. (Major spoilers below! You have been warned!) One mystery which will hopefully be resolved in the upcoming episodes […]

Terrible advice from a great scientist

I am not inclined to write polemic posts. I generally like to leave that to others, while I take the admittedly easier route of waxing positive over various bits of cool science I find or hear about, and yes, occasionally do myself. But WSJ editorial from E.O. Wilson has irked me so much, I have […]

ISMB 2012 Vignettes Pt. 2: Phylogenomic Approaches to Function Prediction

I chaired the Automated Function Prediction meeting at ISMB this year. The meeting, held every year (almost) deals with the latest approaches to predicting protein function from genetic and genomic data, and also discussing the Critical Assessment of Function Annotation This year we were fortunate to have Jonathan Eisen as our keynote speaker. Ever wondered […]

Making genomes less CAGI

cag·ey    /ˈkājē/ (adjective) Reluctant to give information owing to caution or suspicion CAGI /ˈkājē/ (acronym) Critical Assessment of Genomic Interpretations. For details keep reading. The ability to sequence one’s genome adds a new dimension to the ancient maxim “know thyself”. What could be more revealing of one’s self than one’s own blueprint, explaining existing […]

Black SNP Friday

Personal genetics companies are fitting in well with the post-Thanksgiving Day consumer frenzy in the US. Well, maybe not so much of a frenzy in this slow economy, more like mild agitation. 23&me are having a sale, your genotype for $99 (+ 1 year subscription, etc, comes out to $159). You can get your genotype, […]

Carnival of Evolution #29

Yes, it’s that time when we all get together in front of the screen to watch another beautiful game played by that fantastic team contributing to the Carnival of Evolution. This time hosted on the lovely green pitch of Byte Size Biology. So get your popcorn, sunflower-seeds, crisps or any other culturally-appropriate sports-watching food and…… […]

New poll: would you make your genome public?

Would you have your genome sequenced for free?  Conditions: you must license it for all use; a liberal CC-no attribution-like license which allows for commercial use as well. Also, your genome will be made public with many personal data  such as age, height, sex, weight, ethnicity, personal status (we want to find the “money making […]

Ancient Greenlander’s DNA reveals ugly mullet

Seriously, this is what I first thought when I saw the cover of this week’s Nature, and the associated drawings  in the press.  The dude’s haircut seems like it was even bad in the ’80s… 2080 BCE that is, which is when his body is dated. Approximately. A large group of researchers were involved in […]

Weekly Poll: will you have your own genome sequenced?

CLARIFICATION: the events described here have not happened. Yet. We are a few years into the future. Whole human genomes can be sequenced relatively cheaply and accurately. Direct to Consumer Genomics companies offer true genomic analyses now, not just marker analyses. They BLAST* your sequence against known genotype & disease databases, looking for known genotypic […]

“Micro homology”. Wut?

I ranted in a previous post about the use of homology as a quantitative term, rather than a qualitative term. Ben Blackburne commented on that post introducing me to “micro homology”, a term I did not know existed. I ignored its existence, until I heard it spoken yesterday at a talk, which sort of rubbed […]

Reading entrails, 21st-century style

And the future is certain Give us time to work it out — Talking Heads – Road to Nowhere We are a species obsessed with knowing what the future holds. Our personal  future, the future of our kith and kin, our countries, and our planet. Humans have always been trying to predict their personal future. […]