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I just love this title! It’s nerdy and cute, all at the same time.

I read about this in www.researchblogging.org and had to check out the paper and blog write up from The Beagle Project (BTW: some of you may be interested in knowing that The Beagle Project is not a blog about dogs.)

The paper describes a class where students from Marseilles University investigate the function of unidentified genes from a Global Ocean Sampling experiment. All the sequences are obtained from the environmental sequence division at the NCBI.

Students follow the procedure outlined below:


This is a great project and it’s wonderful to see. I agree with the instructor about this part:

Could we envisage that student annotations be made public, contributing to a long-term international distributed annotation jamboree of large (meta)genomics datasets? This exciting possibility would undoubtedly be welcomed as a further incentive by participating students [6], and could even yield useful, if modest, scientific contributions.

It would be wonderful if there were a way to add the student contributions to the store of public knowledge.

Readers – do you can you suggest a place where the students can contribute their results?

Hingamp P, Brochier C, Talla E, Gautheret D, Thieffry D and Herrmann C. (2008). Metagenome annotation using a distributed grid of undergraduate students. PLoS Biol, 6(11): e296 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0060296


  1. #1 Coturnix
    November 25, 2008

    I was waiting for you to pick up on this story…another 24 hours and I would have e-mailed you…. 😉

  2. #2 Sandra Porter
    November 25, 2008

    Bora – I was really impressed to see this sort of thing in PLoS Biology. I’ve never know them to publish education articles before.

  3. #3 Karen James
    November 26, 2008

    Thanks for the link, Sandra. This kind of thing is so exciting both for research and education.

  4. #4 Martin Gollery
    November 26, 2008

    Best paper title I have ever seen! That is really funny.

  5. #5 Karen James
    November 26, 2008

    Hi Sandra and readers, please re-visit the original Beagle Project blog post a very interesting update to my original blog post. Seems another group has done a similar study and published in Science just a few weeks ago.

  6. #6 Kamesh Janakiraman
    November 27, 2008

    Inspired by Sandra’s comment, I skimmed through the paper, very impressive. Truly amazing work Pascal et al …

    Talking about annotation, Here is a web 2.0 based free service helps discovering newer scientific relations across abstracts. it provides manually curated and annotated sentences for the keywords of your choice. Its free, check it out http://www.xtractor.in

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