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Operations Research for Strategic Genomics

Posted by jaredroach on 07 Jun 2007 at 18:26 GMT

I think this is a great article that adds to the armamentarium of strategies for sequencing genomes. The most successful strategies will be those that add information without adding (much) cost. The authors present a strategy that uses binning to add this information. The authors recognize that binning (as they envision it) is currently fairly expensive. However, it is important for readers and reviewers of papers in strategic genomics to welcome papers that anticipate technology. Anticipatory papers can shape a better future. Waiting to analyze and publish strategies after the fact may be interesting, but may end up playing more of a role of historical footnote.

Pairwise end-sequencing also was criticized in the early 1990s because of the additional cost (both of increased molecular biology + handling + tracking clones as well as decreased read lengths compared to m13 sequencing). However, as we began to understand the informational advantages of pairing the reads, increased efforts at improving the implementation may have been driven in part by this understanding, and so theory and technology advanced hand-in-hand. This may also happen for the proposed strategy.

I note the authors use the concept of “ideal” on at least one occasion. One anonymous reviewer once rejected this word from my prose on the grounds that determination of “ideal” (similarly to “optimal”) requires analysis of all conceivable strategies. Maybe that has not been done here either… …perhaps go with “very good.”