Friday, October 12, 2007

Genomics by Press Release Award #1

Well, I have tried to hold off giving out awards here since I kind of botched my last attempt at this. But here goes.

Yesterday, researchers in South Africa announced that they had sequenced the genome of a XDR strain of the bacterium (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) that causes TB. I sniffed around this story because someone who used to work for me, James Sakwa, was mentioned in some of the stories.

The stories proclaim how quickly the researchers were able to sequence this genome with quotes like

(It) took us just over a week, using other technology it would have taken up to a year," he told AFP.
This sounded a lot like other claims of rapid genome sequencing ... and I was skeptical since just doing some shotgun sequencing, with whatever method, does not lead to a complete genome. Alas, it looks like my skepticism is valid. The AP reports
The complete genome sequencing data has not yet been shared with other scientists. Previous tuberculosis strains have already been mapped, and some experts are uncertain how quickly the research will result in new diagnostics or treatments.
So - there is apparently no paper associated with their work. And the data is not being shared. So in that spirit, I am announcing here that I have sequenced the genome of Albert Einstein Marie Curie and Al Gore Barbara McClintock this morning on my new EXCERCYCLER machine we invented here in Davis. It is a new green sequencing technology that is powered by a bicycle and the sequence data is generated by feeding pieces of DNA into the front derailer and sequence comes out of the back derailer. See hazy image below.


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  2. Incidentally, my calculations* suggest that a well lubricated chain can increase EXCERCYCLER's output 20 fold. So be sure to keep the grease bucket handy.

    * Unpublished data.

  3. Wow - I just lubed it up and we are getting even more data.

  4. In your experience, are there any drawbacks in using a moped instead?

  5. You missed the fact that this is a new "green" technology. It is in fact fully biofueled.

  6. I'm so disappointed in you Jonathan. Why aren't you sequencing a woman's genome on your EXCERCYCLER? So far all the individual genomes sequenced have been men's, and who do you pick, two more men. Oh well, maybe you can squeeze in the genomes of Marie Curie and Barbara McClintock this afternoon.

  7. I can't wait for the PYRO-EXERCYCLER!