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A Jury of Your Peers


Get three scientists together, and it's almost a guarantee that the conversation will eventually turn toward the vagaries of the peer review process. Be it for winning grant funding or getting a paper published, this system of relying on a handful of fellow scientists to select the most promising and influential research shapes — at least to some degree — every single researcher's career path.

What's funny about peer review is that, while scientists are happy to talk about it in person, there are surprisingly few papers in the scientific literature about the merits and pitfalls of the process. Here at Genome Technology, that situation spells opportunity — so we thought we'd help spur the debate with a cover story on the subject. In the article, we look at challenges in the peer review process both for grants and for papers, opportunities to improve the current system, and themes that span the range of funding to literature, such as anonymity and interdisciplinary research.

In other articles this month, don't miss our feature on cancer stem cells and the controversy surrounding the role these cells play in the onset of disease. We also look at array CGH, a technology that is reshaping how diseases are evaluated in the clinic. Our Under One Roof this month checks out the genomics institute at the University of Miami, while Lab Reunion profiles that University of Washington tour de force, Mary Lidstrom.

On a personal note, this will be my last letter as editor of GT. It has truly been a privilege and a pleasure to be here for the past six years, and to have readers as terrific as you. The new editor will be Ciara Curtin, who has been a tremendous asset to the magazine since she joined and will provide a welcome fresh voice on this page and throughout GT. For my part, I'm not going far — I'll be staying here at GenomeWeb and taking on a new challenge as editor in chief of the company.

The Scan

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.

Analysis of Endogenous Parvoviral Elements Found Within Animal Genomes

Researchers at PLOS Biology have examined the coevolution of endogenous parvoviral elements and animal genomes to gain insight into using the viruses as gene therapy vectors.

Saliva Testing Can Reveal Mosaic CNVs Important in Intellectual Disability

An Australian team has compared the yield of chromosomal microarray testing of both blood and saliva samples for syndromic intellectual disability in the European Journal of Human Genetics.

Octopus Brain Complexity Linked to MicroRNA Expansions

Investigators saw microRNA gene expansions coinciding with complex brains when they analyzed certain cephalopod transcriptomes, as they report in Science Advances.