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For the past month, this issue’s cover article has been affectionately known around the office as our “weird genomics” story. No disrespect intended, of course — it’s just that we’re not used to reporting about animal feed, counterfeiting problems, and skin-care products. Think you’ve opened the wrong magazine? Not to worry — I promise there’s a genomics angle to every bit of it.

Genome Technology has been around for three and a half years, and genomics as a discipline has been around a lot longer than that. You already know that in each issue of the magazine we delve into the trends and science of integrated biology, paying particular attention to the people, tools, and technologies that make it possible.

Now, the fruits of your labor are for the first time being translated into next-generation research and products that actually approach the realm of mass consumers. (I don’t want to get you too excited about this, but just imagine attending a function with non-scientist family or friends and not watching their eyes glaze over as you describe your work in gory detail.) Consider these: skin creams designed to fit your personal genotype; anti-counterfeiting devices on clothing, currency, and microchips made of custom-structured plant DNA; or new flavors or flavor-enhancers that could even make food healthier.

It’s all being performed based on the integrated biology foundation built by you and your peers. Researchers are using all manners of sequencing, expression studies, and protein analysis — to name just a few relevant niches — to take these state-of-the-art concepts and apply them to industries and fields you may never have even thought about as potential extensions of your work.

Beyond the plain “gee whiz” appeal of an article like this, I think you’ll find it a rewarding look at how many changes are being made using the tools and ideas pioneered by you and the rest of the genomics community.

In a feature article this month, Senior Editor John MacNeil tackles the question of regional core labs and whether these big-biology hubs will catch on. John found as he was researching the issue that the answer varies by technology area. While sequencing and microarrays, for instance, have seen some success with these regional core facilities, proteomics has proven more of a challenge. John explains why and offers a look at a promising new model that may be an answer for proteomics. If you have a core lab in your organization — or if you don’t and could use one that covers a broader region — it’s a worthwhile read.

I’m also proud of this issue’s IT Solutions, which is a roundtable discussion by industry leaders about cost issues in high-performance computing. The agenda was simple: how can our readers cut their costs, or boost performance affordably? Don’t miss this conversation — I think you’ll be as impressed as I was by their candor.

If you’ve been with us for more than a few issues, you already know that we’re always trying something new here at Genome Technology. This month, we’re kicking off a revamped look for the Blunt End — a concept I hope you’ll find useful and interesting. In each issue, we’ll address a different question. Here’s where you come in: we pose the question, and the Blunt End consists of your answers — advice, anecdotes, suggestions, or other pearls of wisdom. I’m really excited about starting this up because I think it will become a valuable forum for genomic scientists. We’ll make a point of listing the next issue’s question as well, so be sure to get in touch with us and share your experiences by e-mailing [email protected]

Meredith W. Salisbury, Editor

What do you think of Genome Technology? Let me know how we’re doing by e-mailing me at [email protected] genomeweb.com or by calling me at 212.651.5635.

 

The Scan

And Back

The New York Times reports that missing SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences are back in a different database.

Lacks Family Hires Attorney

A lawyer for the family of Henrietta Lacks plans to seek compensation from pharmaceutical companies that have used her cancer cells in product development, the Baltimore Sun reports.

For the Unknown

The Associated Press reports that family members are calling on the US military to use new DNA analysis techniques to identify unknown sailors and Marines who were on the USS Arizona.

PLOS Papers on Congenital Heart Disease, COVID-19 Infection Host MicroRNAs, Multiple Malformation Mutations

In PLOS this week: new genes linked to congenital heart disease, microRNAs with altered expression in COVID-19, and more.