Friday, July 10, 2015

Clinical Metagenomics Pipelines: Revisiting & Reflecting

When I set out to start this blog nearly over eight years ago, I set myself a number of goals.  One goal was to take some risks -- not crazy risks but to not just play it safe.  But counterbalancing that goal was one to be open, accurate and honest. My piece last week on clinical metagenomics pipelines had a fair amount of attention, and resulted in an ongoing electronic conversation with one of the key parties.  In the course of this, there are now parts of that piece I wish I had handled differently. Some other important topics have been raised, and I would like to cover here.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Leaky clinical metagenomics pipelines are a very serious issue

Update: Some significant issues with the tone of this post are discussed in a follow-up.

I am a firm believer that the practice of science is the result of contingency; we do not necessarily have the best scientific culture possible but rather one which has evolved over time driven by chance, necessity and human nature.  We should never hesitate to re-examine the way science is actually practiced, and that particularly holds true for how we analyze data and publish results.  A re-analysis of a prominent Lancet paper has just come out in F1000, and this work by Steven Salzberg and colleagues illustrates a number of significant issues that slipped past the conventional peer review publishing practice

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June 2015: Busting Out All Over with Genomics Technology

This month I again entered the prime of my life, though next year my programming brother points out that next year I (and the first Apollo manned missions) hit the big 30.  Beyond my personal milestone, it's been a busy last couple of weeks on the genomics technology front. Despite a lack of conferences or other traditional venues, big news has poured out from Pacific Biosciences, BioNano Genomics, Genapsys, BGI (which had another announcement earlier in the month), 10X Genomics and a pair from Oxford Nanopore.


Monday, June 08, 2015

BGI Unveils a Sequencing Factory to Go

When I was in George Church's lab, he submitted a grant proposal (which, alas, was not funded) for a sequencing factory to generate one megabase of data per day.  In those days that was an ambitious goal, and the plan would have truly been on a factory scale, with a large workforce and an assembly line of stages to yield the final product of data.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Is Illumina Serious About an Alternate Chemistry for the Rapid Amplicon Market?

Back in January, at the end of my post on Illumina's new machine lineup I speculated whether Illumina might see a niche for a lower cost, lower throughput sequencing system that would slot below the MiSeq in their lineup.  Such an instrument, I posited, might go after applications in biosurveilance and diagnostics where relatively small amounts of data are needed quickly. I speculated that perhaps a smaller instrument with less expensive optics could compete in this arena, which is heating up due to Oxford Nanopore and the growing acceptance of DNA-based diagnostics.  As luck would have it, a few days later Molly He, Mostafa Ronaghi and colleagues at Illumina actually published a proof-of-concept paper for just such an instrument.  Unlike many sequencing technology PoC papers, this one demonstrates feasibility of reading actual templates (phiX rides again!). 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

London Calling Wrap-Up

The second, and final, day of Oxford Nanopore's London Calling conference concluded last Friday -- and I'm behind on writing it up.  Some of that was due to travel (and the wrong power supply going on the trip) and post-trip exhaustion, but failing to finish this last night was pure slacking. That route was shut down when one reader asked when I'd get things done.  Anyway, I again organized the activity into a storify story as I did for the first day of the conference. I'm going to go into less detail on individual presentations below and instead engage in the vice of far-ranging speculation.

Friday, May 15, 2015

London Calling Day 1: Highlights

Oxford Nanopore's London Calling conference kicked off today; I've Storified a large collection of Tweets from it, covering today up through about dinner.  I'll summarize some highlights below