Shocking Finding that a Genome by Itself Provides Little Insight

Shocking Finding that a Genome by Itself Provides Little Insight

Remember the bootstrapped genome project? We are at that stage, where we have a readable paper, but the only name my colleagues agreed upon is ‘X genome provides insights on …’.

Here is what bothers me about the title. We do provide quite a bit of insight into the biological system we are working on. In fact, I have not seen any other genome paper contributing to the biology of respective organism by the same amount at the ‘genome paper’ stage. In that sense, ‘provides insight’ is not a false claim and that is the good news.

Bad news is that if I exclude all comparative transcriptomics data from the paper and try to write it based on the genome, the appropriate title would be “Shocking Finding that a Genome by Itself Provides Little Insight about Functionality”.

Apart from that, you know that the meme ‘X genome provides insights on evolution of Y’ has become a cliche, when even intelligent designers use it in the blessed contributions (check the last insightful link below).


Investigating the Human Genome: Insights into Human Variation and Disease Susceptibility

The Medicago genome provides insight into the evolution of rhizobial symbiose s

The African coelacanth genome provides insights into tetrapod evolution

Sequencing of the sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) genome provides insights into vertebrate evolution

Comparative genome and phenotypic analysis of Clostridium difficile 027 strains provides insight into the evolution of a hypervirulent bacterium

Analyses of pig genomes provide insight into porcine demography and evolution

Multiple Single-Cell Genomes Provide Insight into Functions of Uncultured Deltaproteobacteria in the Human Oral Cavity

Whole Genome Analysis of Leptospira licerasiae Provides Insight into Leptospiral Evolution and Pathogenicity

Genome sequence of an Australian kangaroo, Macropus eugenii, provides insight into the evolution of mammalian reproduction and development

Genome of primitive-looking fish yields insight into evolution

Genome sequencing provides unprecedented insight into causes of pneumococcal disease

Pear genome provides new insight into breeding improvement and evolutionary trace analysis

Maps of miscanthus genome offer insight into grass evolution

[Comparative Analysis of Bat Genomes Provides Insight into the Evolution of Flight and Immunity

First Whole Bat Genome Sequencing Gives Insight Into Flight, Immunity

Genome Sequence of Azospirillum brasilense CBG497 and Comparative Analyses of Azospirillum Core and Accessory Genomes provide Insight into Niche Adaptation

[Insight for humans from horse genome sequence

Genome characterisation of the genus Francisella reveals insight into similar evolutionary paths in pathogens of mammals and fish

Turtle Genome, Insight into More Evolution Problems


New addition (Sept 1, 2013)

Nature: Genomes reveal roots of TB drug resistance


Dec 2014

T. Ryan Gregory assembled a much larger list of ‘insightful’ genome papers.

Clearly, the purpose of genome sequencing is to provide insights.

Written by M. //