Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

High-Tech Biology

In a recent column on education, The New York Times' Paul Krugman said that many jobs for recent college grads are being rendered "obsolete" by advances in technology. For scientists, adds Mike the Mad Biologist, this is nothing new. "At a recent celebration type-of-thing, a colleague explained how a Prominent Genomic Researcher realized that the next leap forward in biology was going to happen when biologists would view their science as an information science," he says. "The future was not going to involve benches filled with dozens of Ph.D.s furiously pipetting." There are many informatics problems for researchers to solve, Mike says, due to the sheer amount of data being generated by sequencers that are getting faster and cheaper. Automation will probably be the "next great leap forward," though it won't happen for at least five or 10 years — machines can do tedious jobs reliably, quickly, and without giving in to boredom, which would allow for data production to be done much more quickly and would decrease the need for grad students and postdocs as "cheap labor," he adds. Then, postdocs could concentrate their training on better analysis and less on technique, which could increase their prospects for good jobs.

The Scan

Vaccine Update Recommended

A US Food and Drug Administration panel recommends booster vaccines be updated to target Omicron, CNBC reports.

US to Make More Vaccines for Monkeypox Available

The US is to make nearly 300,000 vaccine doses available in the coming weeks to stem the spread of human monkeypox virus, according to NPR.

Sentence Appealed

The Associated Press reports that Swedish prosecutors are appealing the sentence given to a surgeon once lauded for transplanting synthetic tracheas but then convicted of causing bodily harm.

Genome Biology Papers on COVID-19 Effector Genes, Virtual ChIP-seq, scDART

In Genome Biology this week: proposed COVID-19 effector genes, method to predict transcription factor binding patterns, and more.