Saturday, April 27, 2013

Bad Ome-like word of the week: symbiome

Well I got pointed to this paper: Transgenerational Transmission of the Glossina pallidipes Hytrosavirus Depends on the Presence of a Functional Symbiome

And as many might guess - the word "symbiome" did not sit well with me.  Alas, they don't define it in the paper.  So I can't really quibble with their definition.  But I did find some other stuff out there that, well, at least helps see how other people are using the word:
I can't really tell from most of these if "symbiome" can be a useful term or not sometimes.  Certainly the iPhylo example above has potential.  But in general, the word seems awkward at best.  Now - as far as I can tell, nobody is using it in the context of "genomics" so this does not fit in with my "badomics" obsession.  But it still does not make me feel warm and fuzzy so I am going to give it a pseudo-award - the Bad Ome-like word award.


  1. I like it. It is the combined genome of the host and its symbionts. I think I'll use it in a paper soon!

  2. This is a classic case of multiple etymologies leading to similar words. Symbiome comes from the words 'symbiont' and 'biome', and has nothing whatsoever to do with genomics. It is a useful term because it refers to the total capsule of symbionts on a single host, for which no other term currently exists (to my knowledge).

    I could easily understand the creation of 'symbiomics', i.e. the application of meta-genomics to genotyping the symbiome of a host. An awful word, but an intriguing potential approach.


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