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Category archives for Science News

Sequencing, Mapping, and Chips!

I came across two press releases yesterday, entitled: Entire Yeast Genome Sequenced and University of Toronto scientists map entire yeast genome Upon reading the first, I thought, hasn’t the entire genome of Saccharomyces cerevisiae already been sequenced? And haven’t other yeast genomes been sequenced as well? What in the world could they be referring to?…

Scientific Communication

I want to highlight two excellent items related to scientific communication: The first is a post by Tim Lamber on Deltoid in which he reproduces a comment by John Mashey. Mashey provides a very nice description of how scientists should deal with members of the media. Rather than merely berating bad science reporting (as some…

Mark Liberman has an excellent post examining the general public’s understanding of basic statistical concepts such as means, variances, and distributions. Here’s a taste: Until about a hundred years ago, our language and culture lacked the words and ideas needed to deal with the evaluation and comparison of sampled properties of groups. Even today, only…

Multicellular Eukaryotic Genomes are Teh Suck

The human genome is one big, bloated motherfucker. It’s almost all non-protein-coding DNA. The same is true for many other eukaryotic genomes. Sure, some of it has a function. But a whole lot of it (and maybe most of it) is just junk. There are some who point to a relationship between genome size and…

Genomic Phylostratigraphy

According to this press release Trends in Genetics (TIG) is “the most established monthly journal in Genetics”. I have no idea what that means, but if I were asked to name the top journals in genetics, TIG wouldn’t crack the top four. In fact, here is my top four: Nature Genetics PLoS Genetics Genetics Heredity…

Eukaryotic genomes are chimeras of sequences from many different sources. There are the genes responsible for the normal functioning of the host, but there are also transposable elements (TEs), sequences from mitochondria (numts), and endogenous retroviruses (ERVs). In addition to those examples, other symbionts also infect eukaryotes and leave traces of their presence in the…

Junk on Cancer

The University of Michigan has put out a press release entitled: Bits of ‘junk’ RNA aid master tumor-suppressor gene With a title like that, how could I not blog the hell out of this bastard? I mean, they even put the scare quotes around “junk”. Like that — like I just did. Amazing! The story…

Language Log is Stealing My Business

Mark Liberman at Language Log has been posting on genetics recently. A couple of days ago he tried to track down the origins of the components of the gene name BTBD9. The letters and numbers in the name stand for complex-tramtrack-bric-a-brac-domain 9, which are hijacked from Drosophila nomenclature. Liberman then tries to figure out the…

What is a Gene?

It’s not entirely obvious at first, but this article in the New York Times is about the problems with gene patents in a world where one gene does not equal one protein. Now, we’ve known that this model isn’t entirely correct, what with alternative splicing and all. Additionally, the human genome also contains many “genes”…

New York Times Cracks

Let’s go through the basics again. Cracking the genetic code refers to figuring out how DNA encodes the information to make proteins — that was done decades ago. Sequencing a genome does not mean that you have decoded the genome; presumably, decoding a genome would mean you’ve figured out the function of every part of…