First “insert name” genome

Roald from CLC Bio complained to me that I haven’t mentioned this news … sorry, I’ve had a cold all week and couldn’t be bothered to blog :-(  … anyway, here goes:

First of 100 Arab Human Genomes Sequenced by Saudi Biosciences, Beijing Genomics Institute Shenzhen, and CLC bio

So, at CLC Bio they are participating in a project to sequence 100 arab human genomes using next generation sequencing technologies.

First of all, I find it pretty cool that you can actually completely sequence a hundred human genomes in a couple of years, and I look forward to the population genetics we can do in the very near future as a consequence of this.

The mind boggles at what we can learn from hundreds of full sequences once we start getting them from populations all over the world.

Still, this quote from the press release looked a little hyped to me:

An international consortium consisting of Saudi Biosciences, Beijing Genomics Institute Shenzhen, and CLC bio have in a joint effort performed an initial sequencing and analysis of the first Arab human genome

Ok, so you have sequenced “yet another human genome”. To make this into a news story, you have to mention that it is an arab genome, ’cause we haven’t sequenced any of those yet.

It was also a news story when we had the first Chinese genome and when we had the first — snigger — female genome.

Is it going to be a news story when we get the first Danish genome?  Outside of Denmark, that is.  When we get the first Aarhusian genome? Will we have a press release when we get the first genome from Paludan-Müllersvej?

Sequencing genomes is cool, and what we can learn from the genomes is even cooler, but do we really need to make up reasons why a new sequence is newsworthy?

Author: Thomas Mailund

My name is Thomas Mailund and I am a research associate professor at the Bioinformatics Research Center, Uni Aarhus. Before this I did a postdoc at the Dept of Statistics, Uni Oxford, and got my PhD from the Dept of Computer Science, Uni Aarhus.

4 thoughts on “First “insert name” genome”

  1. I admit that I am biased here Thomas, but I think that you are being too cynical.
    An Aarhusian/Scandinavian genome is probably not the most exiting news since the Caucasian population is extensively mapped through the HapMap project and soon also through the 1000 genomes project.
    The Arab population, on the other hand, is not extensively characterized genetically and is located in the part of the world where we believe that some of the earliest human migrations occurred. Thus, I would expect more novel genetic information from an Arab than from an Aarhusian genome.

    Basically, I think that this is just an attempt on your side to be sequenced without coughing up some money (pun intended) ;-)

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