Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I recently found out about Mygazines.com, a website that allows users to upload and share scanned copies of magazines. This new form of digital piracy is getting the copyrights enforcers attention. I figured the site would be fairly lame with barely readable faded copies of old obscure magazines, but after checking out the site I was quite impressed. The images are clear and the website design is as good as any new social website. Over my lunch break I checked out the September issue of Discover and read a great article about personal DNA testing (p35). Personally, I don't see that many people cancelling their subscriptions, since most people still prefer to read from real paper. However, I was curious to see if any scientific journals were on the site. I figured some of the big ones such as Nature or Science might be, but ater a quick search it seems there are not that many scientists uploading yet. Of course I have access to all the science journals I need through my university, but I wonder if scientistis that don't have access would use such a source for information?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Evaluation of genomic island predictors using a comparative genomics approach

Well after a long hiatus from blogging I thought would start again with announcing my recently accepted paper, "Evaluation of genomic island predictors using a comparative genomics approach" in BMC Bioinformatics.

Quick Summary
This research provides a comparison of several previously published tools that are used to predict genomic islands (large regions of HGT in bacteria).These tools use various methods of identifying abnormal sequence composition, such as GC percent, to predict regions of HGT. The predicitons made by these tools were compared to reference datasets of genomic islands (GIs) and non-GIs (very conserved regions) that were constructed using whole genome alignments. One of the novel and cool (well I like to think so) things about this comparative genomics method, called IslandPick, is that it automatically selects appropriate genomes for comparison given a query genome. Normally in most compartive genomics studies the user/scientist has to pick which genomes are relavant and should be used in the comparison. This works well until you have to do it for ~1000 different genomes. If you want more information on how this works read the paper!

This was my first experience with a very tough and stubborn reviewer. This would have been published almost 6 months ago if it wasn't for one reviewer that kept insisting that our method was flawed even after we clearly defended and addressed their concerns. After much correspondence and waiting, a fresh group of reviewers accepted the research after some minor revisions. *Sigh* Makes me wonder how much of publishing is just a crapshoot?