Two rarities seldom seen by Bostonians are the American Society of Human Genetics Annual Meeting (aka ASHG) and the baseball World Series. The former was last in Boston 60 years ago, in 1953 – the year of the double helix. The latter, a contest between grown men – as evidenced by a dazzling roster of beards – playing some sort of rounders derivative, has not been won on home turf by the city's Red Sox since 1918. But both events converged this year, with the geneticists of ASHG more than equal to the task of keeping all four bases covered. That is, the DNA bases A, C, G and T.
Mo' data, mo' solutions?
The most …
The writers of popular forensics drama franchise CSI would be well advised to read Genome Biology today, as we publish an article that employs a widely used epigenetics assay to show that age can be predicted with reasonable accuracy from pretty much any human DNA sample, so long as it is sourced from healthy tissue.
In other words, a swab of the perp's DNA, even if not matched to an individual on a database, could yield seriously good clues about the age of a suspect, alongside what the wiliest of TV detectives have already shown we can determine about gender and obscure genetic diseases.
Incredibly, the 'epigenetic clock' characterized by UCLA biostatistican Steve Horvath, from which he …
Nobel prizes can sometimes set me a-wondering what the point in journals is. One of the most well-known Nobel-winning papers, that of Watson & Crick, was published in Nature – sixty years ago – without peer review (readers of Science's recent so-called 'sting' on Open Access and peer review might want to take note of the fact that Nature is not, nor has it ever been, an Open Access journal).
Reverse to the trigger-happy antics at Nature, which generally did not bother with peer review in the 1950s (and when it did, viewed a bit of a chinwag in a Pall Mall gentleman's club to be up to the task), was the Journal …
With great fanfare comes great cynicism, and so it should: science is built on the tug-of-war between novel claims and kneejerk skeptism, and the probity that follows. When a sound bite leaked out of last year's ENCODE publications, of which Genome Biology was a participatory journal, that '80% of the human genome has a function', evolutionary biologists were cynical all right, and they took to the journals to say so.
While some of the disagreement hinged on the semantics of the word 'function', a key sticking point was the scientific validity of declaring a stretch of the genome functional when there is no evidence for evolutionary constraint on its constituent DNA sequence. In other words, how …
On April 25, Genome Biology published an interview with Raymond Gosling, who took the famous Photo 51 upon which Watson & Crick's model of DNA's double helix was based. Gosling had worked closely with Rosalind Franklin, whose contribution to the discovery is now rightly celebrated. However, he had initially been recruited to the project by John Randall, head of the MRC Biophysics Unit at King's College London, where the research took place.
Gosling expressed his disappointment at the lack of recognition Randall has received for his role in the discovery, and emphasized that this omission was the most important message he wanted to convey to Genome Biology's readership.
After publishing the interview, Genome Biology was contacted by …
You may recall that July's issue of Genome Biology was dedicated to the field of plant genomics (more info on the issue can be found in this blog post).
When putting together the issue, we recorded a podcast with some of the featured researchers in which we discussed their contributions.
We also spoke to co-Guest Editor Mario Caccamo (read his and Erich Grotewold's Editorial here) and, as a bonus, we solicited the thoughts of Dale Sanders on GM crops – a perennially hot button topic.
For the aurally challenged, Biome has posted a full text of the Q&A from which Sanders' podcast clips are excerpted.
Genome Biology recently published a Correspondence article that argued for a bigger uptake of PacBio’s SMRT sequencing platform. We debated the issues arising in a Twitter chat, showcased here.
Tomorrow (July 31), Genome Biology will host the #SMRTseq Tweet chat on PacBio's SMRT sequencing platform, as discussed in detail in this earlier blog post.
To give budding Tweet chattees food for thought before letting rip on their keyboards, Biome (BioMed Central’s new online magazine) has posted a Q & A with Rich Roberts, lead author on the Genome Biology Correspondence article upon which the Tweet chat is based.
In the Q&A, Roberts explains why he decided to evangelize on behalf of the SMRT technology (he has no personal interest in PacBio) and how he sees the sequencing wars playing out in the future. He also explains why the work for which he …
If you are reading this, then the chances are you have an internet-enabled computer. And if you have an internet-enabled computer, then in all probability (in the hope that you are not a Bing-ling) you know that today would have been Rosalind Franklin's 93rd birthday – thanks to Google's doodle.
At Genome Biology, we find it heartening that Google has chosen to use its immense public platform to spread the word about Franklin, the British scientist whose research at King's College London played a key part in Watson & Crick's determination of the structure of DNA, and her life's work.
Earlier this year, we interviewed Franklin's PhD student, Raymond Gosling, about the road to the double helix – …
In a recent Correspondence article published in Genome Biology, Rich Roberts, Mike Schatz and Mauricio Carneiro extolled the virtues of Pacific Biosciences’ SMRT sequencing platform. The article sought to address an impression held by many in the field that single-molecule sequencing is not yet a viable option, a view Roberts et al. believe to be wide of the mark. In particular, the long reads and non-biased error patterns produced by SMRT sequencing are praised as useful for a range of genomics applications, alongside the unique feature of direct base-modification readout.
We thought a discussion on the merits of SMRT sequencing and what its long term prospects may be would be timely and of interest to our Twitter audience, …