At the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute's seventh annual User Meeting last month, science reporter Carl Zimmer delivered a keynote talk in which he explained his case of YAGS — Yet Another Genome Syndrome. "I talked about my experience of reporting on genomes over the past two decades — from my initial awe at the very first sequenced genomes to weary fatigue as thousands of genomes were published, and to a recognition of what the real news is about genomes today," he now writes at The Loom.
"My experience in writing about genomes has firmly convinced me that we are in the middle of another scientific revolution, like the one in the 17th century, and that genomes are a big part of that," Zimmer said in his talk. "But it's important to focus on what makes that revolution so important." When the microscope was invented, he added, it wasn't so much that the scope itself that was important, but rather what scientists were able to see with it. "If we keep that in mind, I think we can once and for all find a cure for YAGS," he concluded.
But some audience members questioned Zimmer's conclusions. One researcher asked whether YAGS was the product of journalists overhyping genomic discoveries, rather than a problem with the research.