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Wednesday, May 24, 2000

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The New York Times Scientists Cast Bets on Human Genes; a Winner Will Be Picked in 2003
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"How many human genes are there? Recent estimates have ranged from 60,000 to 140,000 and might be expected to narrow sharply as the human genome nears completion. In fact, the range has widened, suggesting that gene-counting remains at least as much art as science."

"Faced with estimates that are all over the lot, genome scientists have contrived a simpler way of settling the question, at least for the present. At a meeting this month at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island they opened a sweepstakes for bets on the number of human genes. The winner will be chosen based on the most likely number decreed at the same annual meeting in 2003."

The Ensembl Project Gene Sweepstake ("Genesweep")
"Genesweep was organised by Ewan Birney, from the EBI, one of the technical leaders of the Ensembl project to provide an current and consistent annotation of the human genome free to everyone. The betting book stays at Cold Spring Harbor under the care of David Stewart. Anyone can make a bet as long as they physically sign the book."

redux [05.13.00]
Wired News Amped Geneticists Bet on Genome
"Well, they weren't all men, but mostly. The betting in the pub continued, the lowest bet being 29,800 genes placed by Pat Tome and the highest number coming from John Quackenbush at 118,259.

The pool was organized by Erwin Birney, a team leader at the European Bioinformatics Institute. He tried to convince the bartender to oversee the betting, but was told in no uncertain terms that no gambling was allowed in the Cold Spring bar.

Guesses on the number of genes in the human genome have lowered considerably since the mapping of chromosome 21, which researchers found to contain only 225 genes, far fewer than previously predicted. The researchers on the chromosome 21 study predicted their results could mean that there are as few as 40,000 genes in the entire human genome.

"Someone from Incyte will probably show up and bet 150,000," one gambler said."

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Bioinformatics will be at the core of biology in the 21st century. In fields ranging from structural biology to genomics to biomedical imaging, ready access to data and analytical tools are fundamentally changing the way investigators in the life sciences conduct research and approach problems. Complex, computationally intensive biological problems are now being addressed and promise to significantly advance our understanding of biology and medicine. No biological discipline will be unaffected by these technological breakthroughs.


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