Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

All Around the Town


When I Grow Up…

The results are in from Bioinformatics Zen's career survey. Blogger Mike Barton asked bioinformaticists about their work and why they like or dislike their job. The data is stored at Github under a Creative Commons Attribution, Share-a-like, Non-commercial license. People can do their own analyses and add them to the wiki at OpenWetWare. A few preliminary charts show that bioinformaticists, on the whole, appear to be happy. Bioinformaticians appear to like the area of bioinformatics they work in but dislike their pay.

Not So Anonymous

At the Gene Expression blog, P-ter discusses a recent paper from TGen scientists in PLoS Genetics that disproves the assumption that individual genomic information is lost when DNA data is pooled. When the data's pooled but genotype frequencies from cases and controls are provided, the authors show that even that amount of information can be used to determine whether someone contributed to the study, as long as their genotypes are known. NIH, the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium, and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard have removed aggregate data from public availability as a result of this. P-ter adds that this strategy could be used by law enforcement to track down a suspect.

DTC is Dead, Long Live DTC

In a couple of posts at Think Gene, Andrew Yates considers the possibility of direct-to-consumer genomics as a dying field. In particular, he says that the Coriell Personalized Medicine Collaborative is doing similar work as 23andMe, DecodeMe, and Navigenics, but for free. This, says Yates, will raise the eyebrows of potential investors as they wonder how the direct-to-consumer genomics companies will turn a profit when a non-profit organization is providing the same service for free. "There is no reason for anyone to ever again buy any DTC genomic test other than to conspicuously spend money," writes Yates.

On Publishing

The DrugMonkey blog has been ablaze with discussions of publishing — impact factors and how to choose where to submit a manuscript. In one post, DrugMonkey points out that many scientists are happy to ignore the fray at Cell, Nature, and Science and publish in society journals. In a related post, Mike the Mad Biologist says that the short, streamlined narrative required by Science and Nature often leaves important details by the wayside. However, Uncertain Principle's Chad Orzel disagrees, saying that page limits are often helpful for getting to the essence of an experiment.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.