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Ewan Birney
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Ewan Birney

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In defence of model organisms
I have written about the rise of human
as a first-class model organism , and am an enthusiastic user of this
outbred, large vertebrate, which can walk right into pre-funded phenotyping centres
(hospitals). However, some scientists are (somewhat flippantly) ...
I have written about the rise of human as a first-class model organism, and am an enthusiastic user of this outbred, large vertebrate, which can walk right into pre-funded phenotyping centres (hospitals). However, some scient...
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Ewan Birney

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11th genome of Christmas: Us
Ever since the discovery of DNA as the molecule responsible for genetics, in particular when it became clear that the ordering of the chemical components in this polymer was the information that DNA stored, scientists have dreamt about determining the full ...
Ever since the discovery of DNA as the molecule responsible for genetics, in particular when it became clear that the ordering of the chemical components in this polymer was the information that DNA stored, scientists have dr...
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9th genome of Christmas: Medaka and friends
My ninth genome of Christmas is a bit of an indulgence: the gentlemanly, diminutive Medaka fish, or Japanese rice paddy fish. When Mendel’s laws were rediscovered in the 1900s, many scientists turned to local species they could keep easily to explore this b...
My ninth genome of Christmas is a bit of an indulgence: the gentlemanly, diminutive Medaka fish, or Japanese rice paddy fish. When Mendel’s laws were rediscovered in the 1900s, many scientists turned to local species they cou...
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7th genome of Christmas: Bread, Beer and Wine.
When you first think of domesticated organisms, dogs might come to mind (our earliest domestication), or perhaps wheat, or cattle or rice. But you might easily overlook single-celled yeast: the key active agreement in both bread and alcohol, and a great ena...
When you first think of domesticated organisms, dogs might come to mind (our earliest domestication), or perhaps wheat, or cattle or rice. But you might easily overlook single-celled yeast: the key active agreement in both br...
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5th genome of Christmas: The Fly
The humble
fruit fly – Drosophila melanogaster, to be specific – has played a central role in the
history of genetics and molecular biology and continues to be important in research.
Championed by the legendary Thomas Morgan at the start of the 20 th Centur...
The humble fruit fly – Drosophila melanogaster, to be specific – has played a central role in the history of genetics and molecular biology and continues to be important in research. Championed by the legendary Thomas Morgan ...
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3rd genome of christmas: the Denisovan little finger.
In the early 90s Svante Paabo, a charismatic, energetic
innovator, made a bold proposal: that to study human origins one would do well
to sequence the DNA of ancient hominids, in particular those species which had
gone extinct. After all, DNA could be detec...
In the early 90s Svante Paabo, a charismatic, energetic innovator, made a bold proposal: that to study human origins one would do well to sequence the DNA of ancient hominids, in particular those species which had gone extinc...
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Have him in circles
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Ewan Birney

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12th genome of Christmas: The platypus
In 1799 George Shaw, the head of the Natural History Museum in London, received a bizarre pelt from a Captain in Australia: a duck bill attached to what felt like mole skin. Shaw examined the specimen and wrote up a description of it in a scientific journal...
In 1799 George Shaw, the head of the Natural History Museum in London, received a bizarre pelt from a Captain in Australia: a duck bill attached to what felt like mole skin. Shaw examined the specimen and wrote up a descripti...
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10th genome of Christmas: The laboratory mouse
After human, the most studied animal, by a long margin, is mouse. Or, more strictly, the laboratory mouse, which is a rather curious creation of the last 100 years of science.  Laboratory mice originate mainly from circus mice and pet “fancy” mice kept by  ...
After human, the most studied animal, by a long margin, is mouse. Or, more strictly, the laboratory mouse, which is a rather curious creation of the last 100 years of science. Laboratory mice originate mainly from circus...
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The 8th genome of Christmas: the greatest chemists in the world.
You might think that best chemists on earth are in Cambridge (either one), Heidelberg, Paris,Tokyo or Shenzhen, working away day and night in laboratories with glassware and extraction hoods around them. But you would be discounting the sheer multitude of d...
You might think that best chemists on earth are in Cambridge (either one), Heidelberg, Paris,Tokyo or Shenzhen, working away day and night in laboratories with glassware and extraction hoods around them. But you would be disc...
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6th genome of Christmas: the deadly Plasmodium... plant?
If humans have an arch enemy, it might well be the tiny, blood-borne parasite Plasmodium falciparum . This nasty beast causes most of the malaria in sub-Saharan Africa and, together with its cousins, in many tropical zones throughout the world . It kills hu...
If humans have an arch enemy, it might well be the tiny, blood-borne parasite Plasmodium falciparum. This nasty beast causes most of the malaria in sub-Saharan Africa and, together with its cousins, in many tropical zones thr...
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4th genome of christmas; the hexaploid bread wheat genome.
The first technological innovation to radically change human
society was agriculture. The ability to cultivate – rather than hunt or pick –
food had a profound change on everything from our immune system to our societal
structures. It encouraged specialisat...
The first technological innovation to radically change human society was agriculture. The ability to cultivate – rather than hunt or pick – food had a profound change on everything from our immune system to our societal struc...
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The Genome Days of Christmas
Inspired by a very boring train stoppage last year, I am going to add, one a day, to this of great / interesting genomes until christmas day. On the first day of christmas, my true love sent to me: Escherichia coli and their associated phages. This humble b...
Inspired by a very boring train stoppage last year, I am going to add, one a day, to this of great / interesting genomes until christmas day. On the first day of christmas, my true love sent to me: Escherichia coli and their...
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Have him in circles
1,051 people
lucy james's profile photo
Ho Eric's profile photo
Dilina Madhusankha's profile photo
Jonathan Eisen's profile photo
Sidharth Sharma's profile photo
Matteo Benelli's profile photo
Helge Weissig's profile photo
Simon Hodson's profile photo
Aza Apukhtina's profile photo
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Ewan Birney; a north london bioinformatician...
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