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This morning I had a banana genome, an orange genome, two chicken genomes (haploid, of course), and some fried pig genome, on the side. Later today, I will consume genomes from different kinds of green plants and perhaps even a cow or fish genome. I probably drank a bit of coffee DNA too, but didn’t…

A reader from the UK sent me these lovely photos that he took of a jellyfish and asked for my help in identifying it. Unfortunately, while I’m pretty good with bacteria, plants, and tropical fish, my taxonomy skills don’t go much farther unless I have a sample of DNA. These photos were taken at La-Manga…

One of my readers asked: Why does genome sequencing cost so much? My short answer is because it’s big. But I thought it would be fun to give a better answer to this question, especially since I’m sure many of you are wondering the same thing. Okay, so let’s do some math. Don’t worry, this…

What made me sick?

How do microbiologists determine which microbe caused a disease? As Tara has eloquently described (I, II), we are covered with bacteria and other microbes. A reasonable question then, is when we get sick, how do we which little devil deserves the blame?

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun The frumious Bandersnatch!” – from Jabberwocky, by Lewis Carroll I’m certain that if we ever sequenced DNA from the frumious Bandersnatch it would match hypothetical and putative proteins.

How to win the X PRIZE in genomics In October, 2006, the X PRIZE foundation announced that second X prize would focus on genomics. The first team to successfully sequence 100 human genomes in 10 days will win $10 million dollars. And I would venture to guess, that the winning team would also win in…

Vizzini: He didn’t fall? Inconceivable! Inigio: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. – William Goldman, The Princess Bride Excuse me while I temporarily interrupt the genome sequencing series to define a word.

To the ancient Greeks, a chimera was a kind of monster, with the body of a goat, the tail of a dragon, and a lion’s head. To geneticists, a chimera can be an animal that’s derived from two embryos, such as a transgenic mouse. Or if the organism is a plant, it can be a…

The general steps in genome sequencing were presented in the earlier installments ( there are links at the bottom of the page), but it’s worth repeating them again since each of the earlier steps has a bearing on the outcome of those that come later. These are: Break the genome into lots of small pieces…

“How much do I love you? I’ll tell you no lie. How deep is the ocean? How high is the sky?” – Irving Berlin The other installments are here: Part I: Introduction Part II: Sequencing strategies Part III: Reads and chromats Part V: checking out the library We all know that sequencing a genome must…