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The Physicists Are Coming

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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

US Booster Eligibility Decision

The US CDC director recommends that people at high risk of developing COVID-19 due to their jobs also be eligible for COVID-19 boosters, in addition to those 65 years old and older or with underlying medical conditions.

Arizona Bill Before Judge

The Arizona Daily Star reports that a judge is weighing whether a new Arizona law restricting abortion due to genetic conditions is a ban or a restriction.

Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.