6-way Venn banana
I thought nothing could top the classic “6-way Venn banana
“, featured in The banana (Musa acuminata) genome and the evolution of monocotyledonous plants
That is until I saw Figure 3 from Compact genome of the Antarctic midge is likely an adaptation to an extreme environment.
5-way Venn roadkill
What’s odd is that Figure 2 in the latter paper is a nice, clear R/ggplot2 creation, using facet_grid(), so someone knew what they were doing.
That aside, the Antarctic midge paper is an interesting read; go check it out.
This led to some amusing Twitter discussion which pointed me to *A New Rose : The First Simple Symmetric 11-Venn Diagram.
[*] +1 for referencing The Damned, if indeed that was the intention.
I enjoyed this story from the OpenHelix blog today, describing a Microsoft Research project to mine DNA sequences from web pages and map them to UCSC genome builds.
Laura DeMare asks: what was the most-hit gene?
This bioinformatician, at least. Hate is a strong word. Perhaps “dislike” is better.
Short answer: because you can’t get data out of them easily, if at all. Longer answer:
Read the rest…
I subscribe to the Ensembl blog and found, in my feed reader this morning, a post which linked to the Variant Effect Predictor (VEP). The original blog post, strangely, has disappeared.
Not to worry: so, the VEP takes genotyping data in one of several formats, compares it with the Ensembl variation + core databases and returns a summary of how the variants affect transcripts and regulatory regions. My first thought – can I apply this to my own 23andme data?
Read the rest…
While we’re on the topic of mistaking Archaea for Bacteria, here’s an issue with the NCBI FTP site that has long annoyed me and one workaround. Warning: I threw this together minutes ago and it’s not fully tested.
Update July 7 2014: NCBI have changed things so code in this post no longer works
Read the rest…
It’s about one year since the science story dubbed #arseniclife hit the headlines. November 30th saw the release of a draft genome sequence for Halomonas sp. GFAJ-1, the bacterium behind the furore.
As Iddo pointed out on Twitter, sequencing the DNA from GFAJ-1 is itself strong evidence against arsenate in the DNA backbone, since the sequencing chemistry would be highly unlikely to work in that case. However, if like me you think that a new microbial genome provides the most fun to be had in bioinformatics [*], you’ll be excited by the availability of the data.
In this post then: where to get it, some very preliminary analysis and some things that you might like to to with it. Projects for your students, perhaps.
[*] note to self: why, then, am I working on colorectal cancer?
Read the rest…
File under: simple, but a useful reminder
UCSC Genome Bioinformatics is one of the go-to locations for genomic data. They are also kind enough to provide access to their MySQL database server:
mysql --user=genome --host=genome-mysql.cse.ucsc.edu -A
However, users are given fair warning to “avoid excessive or heavy queries that may impact the server performance.” It’s not clear what constitutes excessive or heavy but if you’re in any doubt, it’s easy to create your own databases locally. It’s also easy to create only the tables that you require, as and when you need them.
As an example, here’s how you could create only the ensGene table for the latest hg19 database. Here, USER and PASSWD represent a local MySQL user and password with full privileges:
# create database
mysql -u USER -pPASSWD -e 'create database hg19'
# obtain table schema
# create table
mysql -u USER -pPASSWD hg19 < ensGene.sql
# obtain and import table data
mysqlimport -u USER -pPASS --local hg19 ensGene.txt
It’s very easy to automate this kind of process using shell scripts. All you need to know is the base URL for the data, http://hgdownload.cse.ucsc.edu/goldenPath/hg19/database/ and that there are two files with the same prefix per table: one for the schema (*.sql) and one with the data (*.txt.gz).
This is really interesting. I’m reading it at work so I can’t tell you if it’s behind the paywall, but I sincerely hope not; it deserves to be read widely:
Edwards, A.M. et al. (2011)
Too many roads not taken.
Nature 470: 163–165
Most protein research focuses on those known before the human genome was mapped. Work on the slew discovered since, urge Aled M. Edwards and his colleagues.
The article includes some nicely-done bibliometric analysis. I’ve lifted a few quotes that illustrate some of the key points.
- More than 75% of protein research still focuses on the 10% of proteins that were known before the genome was mapped
- Around 65% of the 20,000 kinase papers published in 2009 focused on the 50 proteins that were the ‘hottest’ in the early 1990s
- Similarly, 75% of the research activity on nuclear hormone receptors in 2009 focused on the 6 (of 48) receptors that were most studied in the mid 1990s
- A common assumption is that previous research efforts have preferentially identified the most important proteins – the evidence doesn’t support this
- Why the reluctance to work on the unknown? [...] scientists are wont to “fondle their problems”
- Funding and peer-review systems are risk-averse
- The availability of chemical probes for a given receptor dictates the level of research interest in it; the development of these tools is not driven by the importance of the protein
I love the phrase “fondle their problems.”
I’ve long felt that academic research has increasingly little to do with “advancing knowledge” and is more concerned with churning out “more of the same” to consolidate individual careers. However, that’s just me being opinionated and anecdotal. What do you think?
The email is titled “Your Genetic Profile is Ready at 23andMe!” It arrived on June 21, a shade under 5 weeks after sample arrival and well ahead of the estimated 6-8 weeks. This is what we’ve been waiting for.
Read the rest…
Sample journey and arrival
Spitting across the Pacific
My tube of spit arrived at the lab on May 19. Six days door-to-door via Guangzhou, Anchorage and Memphis to LA.
23andMe raw data menu
On arrival, a confirmatory email: “The spit sample you recently submitted to 23andMe for the person listed above has been received by the laboratory and is now pending analysis; the process usually takes 6-8 weeks. You will receive another email notification from us as soon as the data for this sample are ready to be accessed through your 23andMe account.”
In the meantime, there’s plenty to explore at the 23andMe website. Anyone can create a demo account, which allows you to explore anonymous sample data to get a feel for what you’ll see when your own sample is processed. Naturally, I’m most excited by the options to browse and download raw data. You can also participate in around 20 health and genetics surveys which are a good way to kill time, although not many of them provide instant personal gratification.
Next update – some time in July.