There was once a time that researchers had to be convinced that molecular population genetics was useful, says Mike the Mad Biologist. Once the field became popular, the "early adopters" who were regularly using PCR and clone-based sequences were "hot intellectual commodities" — that is until the field became overcrowded, and nearly every department already had a molecular population geneticist. A few years before that, Mike says, there was a similar phenomenon in marine biology with clonal invertebrate biologists. So which niche is next? According to Mike, it's bacterial population genomics. "Over the next 12 to 36 months, we will be swamped with thousands of bacterial genomes. … Anyone who can come up with interesting ways to analyze hundreds of relatively similar genomes at once will be in great demand," he says. Should history repeat itself, this window of opportunity will only be open for a couple of years before "crowding" occurs, so if you're interested, Mike says, get in now.
The Next Big Thing
Oct 15, 2010