Kids Email the Darndest Things

If you know anything about bioinformatics, you know that programmers love to come up with clever names for their applications. NCBI’s BLAST (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool) programs are some of the most used tools, but behind every successful program is a stupid acronym or cute name. Do the people who name these programs realize the confusion this may cause?

Many of these bioinformaticians provide list serves for updates on their software and public discussions. TIGR (The Institute for Genomic Research, another acronym) developed a genome annotation tool and named it Manatee. A confused kid sent an email to the users’ mailing list (via Neil Saunders):

i am doing a school report and i need to ask some questions about manatees please. How can we help save these wonderful mammals. how do you like manatees. do they react good with people. how many times a day do they need to eat. how long can the survive above the water.

Let’s see Dr. Freeride try to match that sproginess!


  1. #1 Reed A. Cartwright
    April 27, 2006

    You forgot my program, “DAWG”, for “DNA Assembly With Gaps”.


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