death by data drowning
Scientific American has a layperson-level overview of molecular biology’s current Hot Thing: microarrays. The article also touches on the current Big Problem: how to manage and analyze the massive amounts of data generated by microarray experiments.
because it is broken!
I’m still slogging through a C++ book with a group of people at work, hating most every moment of it and cursing the book’s authors at every opportunity. Sounds like some of the conclusions I’m drawing aren’t that far off base…
Scientists have recently discovered that a well-known pathogenic E. coli strain has over 1000 extra genes when compared to base-line E. coli, as well as a high degree of genome polymorphism. Viruses specific to bacteria are thought to be responsible for the shuffling ‘round of all these extra genes. I’ve been saying for a while now that horizontal gene transfer is going to be one of the next breaking areas in genomics; looks like I might be right on this one.
Link via Robot Wisdom
no, really, it’s
good not bad for you!
The AMA has released a report saying that genetically modified foods aren’t more dangerous than ‘regular’ food. I haven’t read the original report, but from the summary it doesn’t sound as if any new ground was broken — there are potential problems, they’re not all the likely to occur, stay the course, etc., etc.
“The Internet is a kind of power shift,” said Nobuyuki Idei, chief executive of Sony, which has extensive music copyright holdings. “Now the consumer has more power than the company.”
And Bill Gates isn’t all bad, apparently; he slammed on Big Pharma for the amount of R&D money they’re spending. Big Pharma, however, wasn’t buying it:
Henry McKinnell, president of the world’s largest drug company, Pfizer, said the pharmaceutical company wanted to help solve the problems, but there had to be an incentive to develop new drugs.
When work first began to treat AIDS, only one drug was available. Now there are 50, with another 100 under development, he said.
I wonder how many of those are based on work initially funded by the FedGov or HHMI?
my kennedy assassination
Fifteen years ago Sunday, I was in the gym at my high school. I had gym right after lunch, and after I got done eating, I’d dress out early and shoot around while waiting for class to start. I know where I was, because Danny Fulton, my principal, came on the intercom and told us the Challenger had exploded. I stopped for a moment on Sunday to remember not only those who gave their lives to the Dream, but also those that continue to risk their lives for it. We’re messing up this planet pretty fast; I hope we get off while we can.
these aren’t the ones to worry about
So, for a while now, I’ve been saying that the question wasn’t “should we clone humans?” but “when will humans be cloned?”. (Maybe I should start a pool…) The competition is heating up, as a third group shoots its pipet tip into the ring.
I’m more concerned about the ones who aren’t talking. Face it, if you were seriously going to try to do this, why would you make any sort of advance announcement? Better to do it on the QT, and then make the announcement once you’ve got a nice mediagenic baby to stick in front of the cameras. The win for this approach is it keeps the cameras away from the less appetizing early failures that will occur while the bugs are being shaken out of the technique. (For those of you wondering, yes, I do scare myself sometimes…)
there doesn’t need to be only one
Peter Duesberg is back. Some of you may recognize the name; Duesberg was possibly the loudest voice in the “HIV doesn’t cause AIDS” camp. He’s apparently decided to switch tacks a bit and tackle cancer for a while. Some recent results from his group seem to back his theory that a cascade of point mutations doesn’t cause cancer. Duesberg instead hypothesizes that aneuploidy — distortions in the number of chromosomes per cell — is the root cause of cancer. The main problem I see with this hypothesis is that it doesn’t really explain what causes the aneuploidy in the first place; the most likely cause I can think of would be a point mutation or two in the genes that control chromosome segregation during cell division — in which case, we’re right back to the “cascade of point mutations” model. Any cancer and/or cell biologists out there want to comment?
what time is it?
It’s Howdy Doody time! (“Howdy Doody” is the nickname a cow-orker has bestowed on GWB.) And since it’s been a day or two since we’ve poked fun at Our Leader, I’ll offer up the Presidential Palm helper. Here’s my favorite. Or maybe this one. Actually, all of them are pretty good…
So I’ll remember to tell people at ork about them:
- Third International Meeting on Microarray Data Standards, Annotations, Ontologies and Databases
- Mathematical Formalisms in RNA Structure
- COMBINATORIAL PATTERN MATCHING (CPM) 2001
that’s all, folks
I’m really behind on email, but I think I’m going to just head to bed. If you sent me something recently, I’m on it, ‘kay?