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Transcription Welcome to the Big League, Transcriptome


Transcriptome 2002, a conference held this month in Seattle, could finally establish as annual the meetings that have been held sporadically over the last few years. “This meeting grew out of a series of workshops sponsored by the DOE that formed the basis of the IMAGE Consortium,” says John Quackenbush, an organizer with the Institute for Genomic Research. What began as a means of studying and distributing ESTs grew to a forum for transcription in general, he adds.

One of the first all-out transcriptome meetings was held in 2000 in Paris, where about 300 attendees gathered to talk about cDNA sequencing and analysis, microarray analysis, and databases to analyze transcript information. “This meeting that we’re having in Seattle … is an extension of that meeting in Paris,” Quackenbush says. But attendees won’t have to wait another two years for the next one: T2003, as it’s being called, is expected to be held in China.

Other organizers of T2002 include RIKEN’s Yoshihide Hayashizaki; Win Hide of the South African National Bioinformatics Institute; Andrew Simpson of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research; and Stefan Wiemann of the German Cancer Research Center.

Quackenbush is looking for more than 300 people at this year’s conference, which will explore areas such as functional genomics and proteomics in addition to the tried-and-true topics. “This is going to be a good opportunity both for people just getting into the field as well as people who are established to exchange techniques and gain a better understanding of where the field is and where it’s going,” he says.

As for where it’s going, Quackenbush says currently transcription is almost running head to head against proteomics. The disadvantage of transcription is that “it’s an indirect measure of the proteins.” But on the other hand, “we can assay easily many more transcripts in a single experiment than we could using proteomics technologies.” The fields are coming together, though — so much so that he says, “in three or four years we may be calling this meeting ‘Transcriptome and Proteome 2007.’”

— Meredith Salisbury


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