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I Can't Believe It's Not Genomics

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Last time you brought up the details of your job at a cocktail party, you learned that you have the power to clear a room in three minutes flat. Sound familiar? You may be heartened to learn that genomics is making its way into the mainstream — in places where you probably would never have guessed.

Here, we offer a roundup of some of the more unusual venues we’ve seen the genome making its mark. Sure, most of it isn’t really about genomics, but we like to think of these as signs that one day, the general public will take an interest.


Made from only the freshest young necks
A skin-care company called Genome Cosmetique bills its products as super-advanced because they’re based on the science that came out of the Human Genome Project. Scientists may wonder, then, about the company’s claim that its Younger Neck Serum is “ideal for men and women of all ages and skin types.” Guess you shouldn’t have gone to all that sequencing trouble, guys.

They just look like racing stripes
A recent announcement began, “Don’t map the human genome, ride over it.” Sustrans, a UK-based charity organization aimed at improving public transportation, has decorated a bicycle path in Somerset County, UK, with plastic stripes color-coordinated to replicate the nucleotide sequence of the BRCA2 gene. This kind of artistic touch might even make the Jersey Turnpike an enjoyable drive.

You know you’ve hit the big time when you’re animated
For anyone who hasn’t typed “genome” into eBay’s search tool, this will come as a surprise. Based on a Japanese comic series, this feature-length anime film continues the story of the Ceres Celestial Legend with “C-Genome.” The plot revolves around a celestial breed of people who are at risk of having their genome hijacked “to create a new world order.” As you’re reading this, we at the Genome Technology office will no doubt be watching this movie … for the umpteenth time.

Previously known as ‘chords’ and ‘notes’
The multi-billion-dollar effort to map and sequence the human genome paved the way for … that’s right, the Music Genome Project. This effort aims to break down songs into “genes” that indicate, for instance, how much bass is incorporated in the song or how the drum is played. The project is the foundation for a fee-based music service from Pandora Media, in which a user enters a song he likes and is provided with suggestions — ostensibly based on comparing music genes — for other songs he might like. No word yet on whether the good folks delving into the music genome have considered the ramifications of alternative splicing.

 

The Scan

New Study Investigates Genomics of Fanconi Anemia Repair Pathway in Cancer

A Rockefeller University team reports in Nature that FA repair deficiency leads to structural variants that can contribute to genomic instability.

Study Reveals Potential Sex-Specific Role for Noncoding RNA in Depression

A long, noncoding RNA called FEDORA appears to be a sex-specific regulator of major depressive disorder, affecting more women, researchers report in Science Advances.

New mRNA Vaccines Offer Hope for Fighting Malaria

A George Washington University-led team has developed mRNA vaccines for malaria that appear to provide protection in mice, as they report in NPJ Vaccines.

Unique Germline Variants Found Among Black Prostate Cancer Patients

Through an exome sequencing study appearing in JCO Precision Oncology, researchers have found unique pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants within a cohort of Black prostate cancer patients.