After five years, the average human is starting kindergarten, the average graduate student is nearing a postdoc position, and the average startup is — well, to be blunt, history. Most startups fail in the first three years, and the world of magazines is just as harsh.
So you can imagine that in the Genome Technology office, we’re giving ourselves hearty pats on the back for reaching our fifth anniversary. Most importantly, though, we’re grateful to you, our readers, for letting us be part of your day. You’ve told us that you value the information we give you, and that’s why we’re still around when so many other startups aren’t.
This is a big issue for us. In our cover story, we’re tackling the topic of microarray standardization. For a technology that’s been in use around the world since its inception some 15 years ago, it’s surprising to realize that there’s still as much variability with chips as there is between labs, platforms, and data analysis. As this technology stands on the brink of becoming a critical tool in the diagnostic arena, scientists recognize that reproducibility will have to be improved significantly before microarrays can prove their mettle in the clinic. Check out our cover story to find out what leading experts have to say about the push for standardization — as well as what you can do in your lab right now to make your array experiments as reliable as can be.
Also in this issue you’ll find our first-ever conference ratings guide. With most scientists attending no more than three conferences a year, you have to be awfully choosy about which to go to. In what I believe is the first resource of its kind, we’ve polled you and the rest of our readers to find out which conferences you would recommend (and which you wouldn’t), and why. After culling the data, we’ve compiled a complete guide with conference rankings and loads of other information that should prove a useful tool as you plan which meetings to attend in upcoming years.
If you’ve been reading GT for any length of time, you’ve no doubt come to recognize John MacNeil’s byline — and associate it with high-quality, perceptive articles. John has been with GenomeWeb for four and a half years — working for the daily news website, our newsletter ProteoMonitor, and for the past few years he’s been a senior editor here at the magazine. John will start this month as a full-time graduate student at MIT’s technology and public policy program, and we wish him all the luck in the world.
Meredith W. Salisbury, Editor
In the Year Ago page of our May issue, our update of protein chip vendor Zyomyx mistakenly said the company had “passed away.” That sentence should have referred to Zyomyx’s catalog array sales unit, which no longer exists. The company as a whole is still around as a provider of custom chips.
In the June issue of the magazine, part of our Blunt End people interaction chart could have been misinterpreted. The arrow representing Tim Kish indicated that he had left Illumina but had not yet surfaced at another company. The spacing of the arrow made it look as if Kish had joined US Genomics, which he had not.