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The Physicists Are Coming


Get ready to have your horizons expanded. According to the directors of the seven burgeoning university systems biology programs we profile starting on p. 26, genomics is going to be getting outside its own box in years to come. With the three degrees you had to earn to practice in this field, and the amount of time your molecular biology team spends interacting with computer programmers, robotics folks, and those chemists down the hall, you might have thought genomics already was interdisciplinary. Just wait. The academic researchers on genomics’ leading edge are suddenly shacking up with physicists, electrical engineers, nuclear engineers, and more — all kinds of people you never thought you’d have reason to stop and chat with at the water cooler.

Back in April, 2002, Genome Technology ran the cover story “New Homes for Genomes,” exhibiting a few of the massive construction projects going on around the country in the name of interdisciplinary science and systems biology. We went into this month’s issue planning to deliver an 18-month report card, telling you which faculty had been hired and how students were faring. Turns out we were a little premature. That we had to walk around barrier tape and past an operating jackhammer to interview the QB3 director in Mission Bay, San Francisco, was our first hint that most of these programs are still in construction phase. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for fascinating work in a dynamic environment, many of them are already recruiting staff.

Speaking of dynamic environments, there’s more content change to note in this, Genome Technology’s third anniversary issue. After introducing four new technology-focused columns last month, penned by each of our four newsletter editors, we introduce another this month. RNAi News is the fifth weekly “professional focus” newsletter to be launched by Genome Technology’s parent company GenomeWeb. You can find these five columns in the back pages of each issue from now on.

Pattern Recognition is another new monthly feature designed to just give you the facts. Ongoing, we’ll provide lists of stats, rankings, and figures of interest and importance, culled from the industry, to help illustrate what’s happening in genomics in a way our feature articles can’t.

Finally, we introduce a new news analysis column. On alternating months, our senior editor John MacNeil and managing editor Meredith Salisbury will fill you in on the emerging trends affecting your work in the government policy and legal domains. John, a DC-area native and political news junkie of sorts, takes on government regs and agency spotting. Meredith, who has cut her IP teeth covering the ABI sequencing instrument lawsuits and other legal battles over the years, will keep you up to speed on the most important IP issues affecting genomics work. John’s first installment, Sense/Antisense, appears on p. 23. Watch for Meredith’s next month.

Surviving three years, by the way, breaks all kinds of records in the magazine publishing business. We have you to thank for enabling us to achieve this. Especially if you’ve been with us all this time, thank you for reading!


Coming next month in GT:

• Whole Human Genome Chip Wars

• BioRad Life Sciences VP Brad Crutchfield

• Legal Beagle Meredith Salisbury

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.