Genome annotation article

In Genome re-annotation: a wiki solution?, Stephen Salzberg discusses the problems of maintaining and updating genome annotation. It’s a good summary of the current state of affairs, the difficulties and the things to bear in mind when using a resource such as GenBank. Don’t get too excited by the “wiki solution” though; the article just tells us what a wiki is, with no expansion as to how this might work or references to the many discussions/proposed solutions to community annotation that you can find on the web. I guess the aim is just to increase awareness amongst those stubborn life scientists who still don’t know what a wiki is.

If you’re looking for a bizarre comment article, look no further than Jumping the shark in the same issue. After a long rant about popular culture and favourite TV shows, the author concludes that structural biology has jumped the shark by focusing on structural genomics. I’m not sure what to make of it, except to wonder how these things get into journals.

Genome Biology has a rather infuriating access policy – it can give the impression of being free to all when it isn’t, so you might need a subscription to access it.

2 thoughts on “Genome annotation article

  1. Yeah, that “jumping the shark” article was weird. As if I cared that the author liked “Mary Tyler Moore”. He also seems to repeat the standard complaint that “genomics isn’t hypothesis driven research”. So? The idea that science has to be “hypothesis driven” is something that is just an artifact of being taught a simplistic version of the “scientific method” in grade school, in which scientists were assumed to robotically follow a method.

    Lots of good science isn’t hypothesis driven — when field biologists go out to look for new species, what’s their “hypothesis”? That there’s interesting undiscovered species in the environment in which they are looking? If so, my hypothesis is that new genomes will contain interesting new genes.

  2. Absolutely right. My hypothesis also is that genomes contain cool, interesting stuff. And that they teach us about evolution – there’s no reason why an archaeal genome can’t shed light on human biology, for instance.

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