Category Archives: ENCODE

Blinded by Big Science: The lesson I learned from ENCODE is that projects like ENCODE are not a good idea

When the draft sequence of the human genome was finished in 2001, the accomplishment was heralded as marking the dawn of the age of “big biology”. The high-throughput techniques and automation developed to sequence DNA on a massive scale would be wielded to generate not just genomes, but reference data sets in all areas of […]

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A neutral theory of molecular function

In 1968 Motoo Kimura published a short article in Nature in which he argued that “most mutations produced by nucleotide replacement are almost neutral in natural selection”. This fantastic paper is generally viewed as having established the “neutral theory” of molecular evolution, whose central principle was set out by Jack King and Lester Jukes in a Science paper the […]

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This 100,000 word post on the ENCODE media bonanza will cure cancer

It is oddly fitting that the papers describing the results of the NIH’s massive $200m ENCODE project were published in the midst of political convention season. For this was no typical scientific publication, but a carefully orchestrated spectacle, meant to justify a massive, expensive undertaking, and to convince us that we are better off now […]

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