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The Ome-Ome

In recent years the "omics" business has begun treading dangerously close to New York Times Styles section territory. Just as three people doing something you've never heard of before is enough to make for a "trend", it seems these days any collection of a dozen or so data points qualifies as an "ome."

There are those (we're looking at you, Jonathan Eisen) who have committed themselves to raging against this state of affairs. And then there are those who have just decided to embrace it.

For instance, Nature, which this week put out an all "omes" crossword puzzle — giving lovers and haters alike something to mull over their morning coffee.

The crossword accompanies an article by Monya Baker on the ongoing proliferation of omes in which she observes that, omics-bashing aside, the construction would appear to be here to stay and might, in fact, even prove worthy.

"Ideally, branding an area as an 'ome helps to encourage big ideas, define research questions and inspire analytical approaches to tackle them," she writes.

"It's the idea of everything, it's the thing we find inspiring," adds Yale University computational biologist Mark Gerstein.

That settled, we've got another question for the scientific community: omics, 'omics, or –omics? Feel free to fight it out in the comments.