Dear BGI, Please Stop 'Revealing' Any More 'Insights' :)

Dear BGI, Please Stop 'Revealing' Any More 'Insights' :)

Long long time ago, titles of papers told you exactly what was inside. For example, Alexander Fleming’s Penicillin paper (1928) was titled - On the Antibacterial Action of Cultures of a Penicillium, with Special Reference to Their Use in the Isolation of B. influenzae, not “here is the greatest drug to save humanity”.

The practice continued until late 1990s, when the first few genome papers were named as banally as “Analysis of the genome sequence of the flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana” or “The nucleotide sequence of Saccharomyces cerevisiae chromosome XV and its evolutionary implications.” Then, somewhere along the line, someone got the idea that the genome paper needed to be titled colorfully, and have to use the word ‘insight’ and other primates writing genome papers copied it. For a full list of insight-full genome papers, check -

Shocking Finding that a Genome by Itself Provides Little Insight


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

On the other hand, ‘reveal’ is the common word to title the press releases of genome papers and the practice likely started with Watson’s 2001 write-up -

Watson, J.D. 2001. The human genome revealed. Genome Research 11: 1803-1804.

Fast forward by thirtee years and we have BGI with their mastery of words and revealing insights. Here are the titles of latest BGI papers -

Comparative genomics reveals insights into avian genome evolution and adaptation

Two Antarctic penguin genomes reveal insights into their evolutionary history and molecular changes related to the Antarctic environment

Oh well ! Where do we go from here?

Written by M. //