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Oysters, Fjords, and Genomics

Oysters aren't just for eating, but the University of Southern California's Dennis Hedgecock told the crowded room at the JGI Users' meeting on Wednesday that he likes his raw on the half shell. For his research, however, Hedgecock is using oysters to study the genetics and physiology of hybrid vigor. His talk was followed by the University of British Columbia's Steven Hallam who discussed his ecological genomics studies of the Saanich Inlet to better understand ocean anoxic zones. Hallam and his colleagues are planning to use their knowledge to develop a tool to monitor the water column in real time. Later, Jay Keasling gave an enthusiastic keynote address on the role synthetic biology might be able to play in biofuel production. "Ethanol is better for drinking than driving," he said, before describing how to optimize and alter existing metabolic processes, such as through using scaffolds and changing copy number, to have microorganisms produce fuels.

If you want to follow along from home, a number of audience members are posting their thoughts on the talks on FriendFeed — Jonathan Eisen has already noted some "bad omic word" usage.

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