454 and Baylor have for the first time sequenced a full genome, that of James Watson, using next-gen technology. At a cost of $1.5 million and a timeframe less than four months, it's a big step for personal genomics and basic research. Not everyone is that impressed, though. In a related editorial, University of Washington's Maynard Olson wonders how much it's really worth, considering our lack of knowledge when it comes to actually pairing SNP data with disease causation. "It will be extremely difficult to extract medically, or even biologically, reliable inferences from individual sequences," he writes. At Genetic Future, Daniel MacArthur breaks this point down further.
NSF's iPlant Collaborative has offered $50 million to research focused on generating new computational tools. The money "can't be used to generate new data, only to create user-friendly computational tools. And, perhaps hardest of all, researchers have to persuade others in the field to collaborate on how to spend the funds," the article says.
Researchers at the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona have systematically explored what happens when they shuffle promoters and ORFs in E. coli. Recombining the promoter regions and ORFs to create nearly 600 new connections, they found that most of them didn't harm the cell and in some cases, the strains grew even better. "These observations indicate that small-scale rewiring events probe the network landscape for fitness of the associated changes, without causing great detriment to the organism," says this News and Views article.
At Penn State, researchers have looked at the genomic evolution of the influenza A virus on a large scale. Analyzing 1,300 complete viral genomes sampled from temperate populations in both hemispheres, they show that there is frequent reassortment and periodic selective sweeps.