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Microarray Madness


Macro coverage of microarrays. It’s what Marian Moser Jones does for BioArray News on a weekly basis, and it’s what we’ve pulled together this month for you in GT. For our cover story, Marian and senior editor Aaron J. Sender tag-teamed the Affymetrix execs — with Marian flying out to tour Affy’s Santa Clara HQ and Sacramento manufacturing facility and Aaron burning up the transcontintental cables spending hours in phone interviews with Sue Siegel and Steve Fodor. Siegel and Fodor’s generosity with their time is a good example of the “new Affy openness” that Aaron and Marian report on.

As a counterpoint to our coverage of Affy’s new customer-service orientation, on the pages following the cover story we present the transcript of a rap session among some real, live GeneChip users. As you’ll see, not everyone has been bowled over yet by Affy’s affability.

For the true microarray maniac (all of you reading this at Chips to Hits this month), we also provide a peek at how some chip companies are tuning their technologies for diagnostics applications (p. 64); Nat Goodman’s thorough account of the state of microarray data analysis standards (p.86); and a pensive piece by Roger Bumgarner, director of the University of Washington’s Center for Expression Arrays, on how to make data meaningful (p. 104).

Gossip and Growth

This month we also introduce a few new features.

With backup from researchers Ted Tenthoff and Ellen Lubman, Michael King will enlighten you from now on about the financial performance of the GTI companies. We were thrilled to be able to recruit King, managing director for Robertson Stephens and close follower of the genomics industry, to be our GenoMoney columnist.

But we didn’t go looking for Jeanne C. Kwens. She found us. She wasn’t the first person to tell us we need a gossip column, but she was the first to offer to author it. She promises to let it all hang out in her new column, Unzipped.

We probably don’t need to point out that we made a few aesthetic changes to the magazine too. Maybe we’ve been infected by the fast-changing industry we cover, but we figured a year was long enough to wait for a redesign. All the changes you’ll see inside — most notably a new typeface and more white space — are aimed at making the magazine easier on your eyes. The new table of contents layout is fashioned to stay flexible as we continue to expand. One-hundred and eight pages is our biggest issue yet, but we hope not ever.

We’d like to hear what you think. So would our hard-working designers (see p. 12) who spent more than a few summer evenings (not to mention midnight hours) revamping our look. Did we go far enough? We’re all for continuous improvement if you’ve got requests.

Finally, one more debut to announce: After 275 days spent honing his knowledge of everything proteomic as a reporter, John MacNeil this month launches the latest in our fleet of weekly print newsletters: ProteoMonitor. The publication will be rolled out at TIGR’s GSAC meeting Oct. 25-28 (preview of that event, by the way, on p. 77). If you’ve got a mind for protein analysis, track John down at GSAC (we’re booth number 430) and share a piece of it with him.

Adrienne J. Burke, Editor in Chief

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.