Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Biology Nerds

Newsweek has declared some of the top scientist's that would rank as the top 10 nerds in biology. All are men, though. But there are women scientists too who we should have seen in the list of who is who in biology. Most of these people are drawn of course from genomics. Well look at the list:
-Eric Lander
-Leroy Hood
-Craig Venter
-David Botstein
-Svante Paabo
-Philip Sharp
-Rudolph Jaenisch
-Kari Stefansson
-George Church
-Jay Keasling
Sure these people have done good work and deserve to be in the list of top biologists but they have been around for sometime. We need new faces emerging as influential in biology. Do you agree with the list?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Killing HIV with Lessons from Spam mails

Could you have imagined that lessons from fighting spam e-mails may be used in finding vaccines for HIV? That's exactly what scientists at Microsoft's Machine Learning and Applied Statitics Group are doing. Spam mails are really bothersome. Nearly 40% of e-mail traffic in 2006 came from spam mail. To fight spam, scientists realized that some of the best ways to do this was to train computers to differentiate between spam mails and regular mail. Now they are using the same methods to train computers to predict which peptides derived from HIV may applied in vaccines. They have also released a number of tools for computational biology available at the Microsoft Computational Biology Web Tools. Read more on October 1st issue of BusinnessWeek.

1st Published Diploid Genome

On September 4th 2007, we moved a step closer to individualized genomic medicine. Craig Venter's diploid genome was published in PLOs Biology giving an account of the composition of his genome base by base, chromosome by chromosome. But this has been painstaking. The challenge is to be able to sequence the genomes of many indiviuals rapidly and much less costly. And there's a prize to it! The X prize Foundation is offering $10 million for any team that will find a way of sequencing 100 human genomes within 10 days and at a cost of less than $10,000 per genome. Since the launch of the competition in October 2006, five teams have registered. Companies like 23andMe which will enable you to view your genetic information on the web in an easy to understand manner are impatiently waiting for the realization of this dream.