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Showcasing Model Org Research


During some of the earliest conferences I attended when I first joined Genome Technology more than four years ago, researchers would refer to some sort of rift between scientists who focused on plant and animal genomes and those who worked on the human genome. That didn’t really surprise me: in any field suddenly bathed in the media spotligh t — as genomics was in late 2000 and early 2001 — there are bound to be people who feel that their peers are getting more attention than they deserve.

What has surprised me is that even now, I see no sign of that feeling abating. At the Plant and Animal Genome XIII meeting in San Diego early this year, scientists were telling me yet again that they felt their counterparts in human research got all the glory. I’m sure there are plenty of examples people can cite for and against that, and as your objective news source, Genome Technology is certainly not going to weigh in on the debate.

That said, I think people from both sides of the divide will find this month’s cover story appealing. There’s no question that many of the innovations in genomics over the years have come out of plant and animal research, and we consider what’s up and coming in model organism science a great predictor of tools and methods poised to have a major impact in the community as a whole. Many of you read this magazine because you want to know what’s next in systems biology research — so for this article, we’ve showcased some of the top model organism researchers and their pioneering work.

Also in this issue, we have an article on the promise of microRNA research. Over the past year, we’ve been at the same conferences as you, listening to more and more people talking about these short RNAs. Senior Editor John MacNeil delved into the topic to find out why microRNAs have all but become a household name, and reports on why scientists are so eager to work with them.

John was especially busy this month — he’s also responsible for our high-performance computing story, in which he looks at shared memory architecture, a sort of halfway point between clusters and traditional supercomputers. As John writes, informatics wizards are hard at work trying to figure out which applications run best on each type of architecture. Those answers will no doubt prove highly valuable to the research community.

In a recent reader feedback group, we asked what people thought of our new “spotlight” pages that focus on a particular discipline within systems biology. Their response was so enthusiastic that we’ve added a new page devoted to sequencing — be sure to check it out.


Meredith W. Salisbury, Editor

What do you think of Genome Technology? Let me know how we’re doing by e-mailing me at msalisbury@ or by calling me at +1.212.651.5635.