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DIY or Not?


There are some things people rely on others to do for them. When I lived in California and having a car was de rigueur, I knew the basics of automobile upkeep, but still chose to take my trusty car to the mechanic for anything much more complicated than changing the windshield wiper fluid. I didn't have the tools, expertise, or a garage to do the work that it needed. The mechanic had all of that, so I outsourced whatever repairs I had to the shop.

As this month's cover story shows, some researchers in academia and industry do something similar with their sequencing projects, and for similar reasons: They send them out to service providers that have the necessary expensive tools and expertise. The article looks into who is offering sequencing services, who is using them, and more.

Elsewhere in this month's issue, Christie Rizk reports on ways in which genomics researchers are adapting their approaches to study the effects of climate change on various organisms. The University of California, Davis' Andrew Whitehead tells her that combining 'omics techniques with ecology or environmental science approaches allows researchers to better tie genotype and phenotype together.

Also, Tracy Vence examines how researchers are studying the stochastic nature of gene expression to come to a better understanding of how and why genes behave as they do. While it is not yet fully understood, Tracy says researchers are getting a glimmer of the importance of copy-number variation and chromatin organization.

And in this month's Brute Force column, Matthew Dublin writes that there are other fields, like government and e-commerce, that may teach bioinformaticists a lesson or two on how to cope with analyzing vast volumes of data. If Google and the US National Security Agency can do it, why not them?

Finally, a feature story last month on point-of-care diagnostics misstated the given name of Cornell University's Dan Luo. Genome Technology regrets the error.

The Scan

Purnell Choppin Dies

Purnell Choppin, a virologist who led the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, has died at 91, according to the Washington Post.

Effectiveness May Decline, Data From Israel Suggests

The New York Times reports that new Israeli data suggests a decline in Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine effectiveness against Delta variant infection, though protection against severe disease remains high.

To See Future Risk

Slate looks into the use of polygenic risk scores in embryo screening.

PLOS Papers on Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus, Bone Marrow Smear Sequencing, More

In PLOS this week: genomic analysis of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius, archived bone marrow sequencing, and more.