Thursday, January 15, 2009

Worst New Omics Word Award: Museomics

OK.  So I coined my my omics word many years ago (phylogenomics).  Fine.  Sue me.  But the spread of omics words is getting really icky.  And a new one really seems lame.  The word is "museomics"which I saw for the first time in a press release today from Cold Spring Harbor Press about a paper in Genome Research. 

I mean, the study of the Tasmanian Tiger seems like it could be interesting (have not read the paper) and there is some really fun stuff happening these days using Roche/454 sequencing. 

But meseomics?  Not to disparage museums which are critical to all of biology in my opinion.  But to me the term in a way treats museums as simply a place we store organisms before we get DNA out of them.  For this, the team at Penn St. that led this project and apparently coined the term museomics (see here where they define the term) is getting my new "Worst New Omics Word Award." 

In addition I am proposing my favorite new Omics words using their model:
  1. Roadkillomics (to go along with roadside field guides)
  2. Backyardomics (e.g., could be some sort of native plant thing)
  3. Hospitalomics (e.g., MRSA)
  4. Backoftheenvelopomics (for the anthrax case)
  5. Stuffinmypocketomics (hey, I have found some $&%$ stuff there)
  6. Restaurantomics (e.g., O157H7)
  7. Footballomics (there have been studies of MRSA transmission in games, why not omics)
  8. Slowfoodomics (genomics of things you get within 50 miles of your neighborhood)
  9. Ebayomics (genomics of things you get off Ebay)
  10. Stuffthecatdraggedinomics (my cats would like this)
  11. Wherethesundontshinomics (human microbiome?)
Any others suggestions?


  1. CSIomics? (a lot like forensic sciences, but a lot sexier and not constrained by reality)

  2. Well, I like the CSIomics term but I was trying to make up ones where the term referred to where one found the samples ...

  3. Ginomics- how much do we really know about the martini microbial consortium?

  4. greaterthantoiletseatomics - the genomics of a meidagenic survey of household surfaces that reportedly have a higher bacterial count than your toilet seat. Reports are published at the Journal of the 11 o'clock News

  5. My favourite 'ome remains the Unknome for the parts of a genome with unknown function.

    I think all the irrelevant and pointless omics should be grouped together and studied. This would lead to the new study of 'misnomics'

  6. I read a manuscript last year that talked about the "mobilitome" -- the set of electrophoretic mobilities of every protein in the proteome.

  7. Unlabeledleftoverscontaineromics - self explanatory. The assorted co-ops I have lived in could certainly provide quite a lot of samples free of charge.

    A little finch told me that we've got some Galapagomics to look forward to...

  8. What about labratomics - the study of interactions among all lab members in comparison to structures in other labs...

  9. Maybe that should be labratsystemsbiology?

  10. I've always wondered about ribosome-omics..

    Maybe we need to start the Department of Ome-land Security to crack down on this threat.

  11. What about ribosomics? It is alas already out there . And this site where I found the ribosomics appears to be a collection of omics and omes terms . Seems to be some sort of spam / web squatting thing but still, it has a lot of stuff there ...

  12. How about Eppendorfomics? There must be a TON of cool things coming out of Eppendorf tubes.

  13. Speaking of bad -omics names, I just got this spam about a new journal...

    Again, not up to the origional post's cleverness, but still sad.


    Dear Colleagues,

    Wishing you all the best for 2009.

    This moment I want to bring to your attention the journal covering genomics and genetics in the nutritional field: 'Journal of Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics' (http://(deleted)). Please feel free to submit any of your results. Manuscripts will be peer reviewed quickly and rapidly processed for publication.

  14. Maybe we should study the genomics of using omics words. It could be OMICOMICS

  15. As an ecologist I am irritated that economics is already taken.

  16. Coming a bit late to this discussion, I see, and I'm generally annoyed with the 'omics terms. But, I'm giving a talk to alumni at my institution this weekend and I was happy to latch onto the word "museomics". Museums and their associated scientists and research collections are so often these days put on the chopping block, that having a new word that emphasizes that museums are on the cutting edge of technology is actually quite exciting.

    Many people seem to have a negative association with the word museum, so I have even been considering renaming our museum to exclude the word museum! Use biodiversity center or something like that to try to generate more excitement about how our museum has a place in modern science and society. Maybe a better idea is to take back the word museum by using a term like museomics. Or, the talk will utterly fail and the perception of museums as outdated will persist. Sigh. If I don't get back to working on the talk, we'll never know:)

    1. Heather - see my follow up post about museomics here.


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