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{bio,medical} informatics

Tuesday, June 19, 2001

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find related articles. powered by google. Wired News Getting the Genome Letter-Perfect

"Despite the hubbub of earlier this year, the human genome is not yet complete.

This might surprise people who saw the headlines in February announcing this groundbreaking achievement, but genome scientists know very well that they're in the midst of the most difficult part of mapping the human genome: assembling it after they've torn it apart."

find related articles. powered by google. BioMedNet Peaceable genome
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"Researchers from the rival public and private genome sequencing projects have met to work out their differences and seek out common interests. Participants at the meeting agreed that future projects will probably employ a mix of the whole-genome shotgun sequencing advocated by Celera Genomics and the clone-by-clone method used by the publicly funded project. Sean Eddy of Washington University in St. Louis urged both projects to pay more attention to cleaning up their draft sequences. "Right now, with both the Celera and the public data sets, it is difficult to tell the difference between an interesting variant and a mistake in the data," he said.

Reference: MacIlwain, C. 2001. Meeting hints at thaw in relations between genome rivals. Nature 411(6839):726."

find related articles. powered by google. Fortune Bill Haseltine

"One jab that drew chuckles: "You may have read that you're not much different from a flatworm," he told the crowd, referring to the decoders' startling claim that our set of genes isn't much larger than that of worms. At Human Genome Sciences, "we don't think so."

In fact, Haseltine says his Rockville, Md., company has found more than 90,000 human genes. In contrast, both the government-funded Human Genome Project and Celera Genomics, the Rockville company that mounted a parallel effort to decipher the genome, recently estimated that we have only about 35,000 genes. The dispute has big implications. If Haseltine is wrong, his company may have wasted millions of dollars trying to patent genes that don't exist. If he's right, the genome projects may be no better than "reading smudged text through foggy glasses," as Haseltine recently put it, when it comes to identifying genes."

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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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