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Promises and Problems

Accepting the D.C. White Research and Mentoring Award at ASM this year, the J. Craig Venter Institute's Ken Nealson said the promises made by genomics and metagenomics have served to both draw him in and expose the problems inherent in both fields. The first promise, Nealson said, is that learning an organism's functions and the structure of its genome will enable researchers to predict how it will act in nature. Nealson used his work with the bacteria Shewanella oneidensis to illustrate problems with the first promise. Many genes don't do what they're supposed to do, he said.

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