Politics, Information Technology, and Genomics

Another rich white guy sequences own genome

Following in the dubious footsteps of J. Craig Venter, Stephen Quake has sequenced his own genome using a technology he helped develop which was commercialized by a company he helped to found (lots of conflicts of interest there). The letter, Single-molecule sequencing of an individual human genome, was published in Nature Biotechnology and details the sequencing of Quake's genome on the Helicos Genetic Analysis System (formerly Heliscope). There is a more accessible description of the... Full Post

United Way online auction

The United Way of Greater St. Louis is having an online auction to benefit many non-profits around St. Louis, including the St. Louis Crisis Nursery. A lot of the items have a local flavor, e.g., sports tickets and landmark tours, but some have a wider appeal like a guitar autographed by Carlos Santana. The auction closes on August 20, 2009, so get your bids in. Full Post

Sour grapes

Well, the US is not the only place with interesting politics. I recently came across this letter from Kevin McKernan, Senior Director of Scientific Operations at Applied Biosystems/Life Technologies, to the House of Lords in the UK (pdf). In the letter, McKernan expresses his concern that the Sanger Institute's decision to return their SOLiD instruments was due to some long-standing resentment of Applied Biosystems due to their association with Craig Venter and his challenge to... Full Post

Francis at the helm

Francis Collins was confirmed as the head of NIH today. Since the announcement of his nomination, there has been considerable hand wringing from scientists concerning everything from his religion to his optimism. Ho hum. We are supposed to be scientists. We are supposed to use data to formulate hypotheses. Nothing in Dr. Collins direction of NHGRI, shepherding of the Human Genome Project, or championing of GINA provide any evidence to support this reaction. The are... Full Post

Watson on Cancer Research

In his usual, no-holds-barred, rambling way, Nobel Laureate James Watson takes cancer research in general and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in particular to task for the failure in the War on Cancer and the continued research funding focus on the genetics of cancer in an Op-Ed for the New York Times. Interesting timing given my previous post. Watson identifies several problems with the current state of affairs and lurches from one to another in... Full Post