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Ewan Birney
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Ewan Birney

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Human as a model organism
Model organisms have provided the
foundation for building our understanding of life, including human disease. Homo sapiens has joined this select group, adding knowledge we can apply to our
myriad companion species. But to resolve even one small part of the...
Model organisms have provided the foundation for building our understanding of life, including human disease. Homo sapiens has joined this select group, adding knowledge we can apply to our myriad companion species. But to re...
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Great post, but let's not forget the vanishing populations, example:
http://proof.nationalgeographic.com/2015/05/06/a-rare-glimpse-of-vanishing-rain-forest-cultures/ ..
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Ewan Birney

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Moving 20 Petabytes
EMBL-EBI's data resources are built on a constantly running compute and storage infrastructure. Over the past decade that infrastructure has grown exponentially, keeping pace with the rapid growth of molecular data and the corresponding need for computation...
EMBL-EBI's data resources are built on a constantly running compute and storage infrastructure. Over the past decade that infrastructure has grown exponentially, keeping pace with the rapid growth of molecular data and the co...
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Great post as usual Ewan!  you made lots of cool points that only someone who's done all those things on a smaller scale, and explored many non-optimal or scale-appropriate paths could appreciate. 
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RNA is now a first class bioinformatics molecule.
RNA research is expanding very quickly, and
a public resource for these extremely valuable datasets has been long overdue. Some 30 years ago, scientists realised that
RNA was not just an intermediary between DNA and protein (with a couple of
functions on th...
RNA research is expanding very quickly, and a public resource for these extremely valuable datasets has been long overdue. Some 30 years ago, scientists realised that RNA was not just an intermediary between DNA and prot...
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CRAM goes mainline
Two weeks ago there was the announcement from John Marshall from Sanger for SAMtools 1.0 - one of the two most widely used Next Generation Sequencing ( NGS) variant-calling tools  embedded in hundreds if not thousands of bioinformatics pipelines worldwide ....
Two weeks ago there was the announcement from John Marshall from Sanger for SAMtools 1.0 - one of the two most widely used Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) variant-calling tools embedded in hundreds if not thousands of bioinf...
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"DNA" as a cultural icon
Over the years I've been fascinated to see where the word "DNA" and the iconic double helix turn up in everyday life. It's become so commonplace that phases like "corporate DNA" are in common usage and the double helix has pride of place on beauty cream adv...
Over the years I've been fascinated to see where the word "DNA" and the iconic double helix turn up in everyday life. It's become so commonplace that phases like "corporate DNA" are in common usage and the double helix has pr...
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The Start of a Journey
Last
week a new paper, “Policy challenge of clinical genome sequencing,” led by
Caroline Wright and Helen Firth and on which I am a co-author, was published in
the British Medical Journal . It lays
out the challenges of making more widespread use of genetic...
Last week a new paper, “Policy challenge of clinical genome sequencing,” led by Caroline Wright and Helen Firth and on which I am a co-author, was published in the British Medical Journal. It lays out the challenges of making...
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Have him in circles
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Ewan Birney

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Untangling Big Data
"Big Data" is a trendy, catch-all phrase for handling large datasets in all sorts of domains: finance, advertising, food distribution, physics, astronomy and molecular biology - notably genomics. It means different things to different people, and has inspir...
"Big Data" is a trendy, catch-all phrase for handling large datasets in all sorts of domains: finance, advertising, food distribution, physics, astronomy and molecular biology - notably genomics. It means different things to ...
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Another step into Quantitative Genetics...
Today sees the publication of the paper by Zhihao Ding, YunYun Ni, Sander Timmer  and colleagues (including myself) on local sequence effects and different modes of X-chromosome association as revealed by the  quantitative genetics of CTCF binding . This pa...
Today sees the publication of the paper by Zhihao Ding, YunYun Ni, Sander Timmer  and colleagues (including myself) on local sequence effects and different modes of X-chromosome association as revealed by the quantitative gen...
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A cheat's guide to histone modifications
I was recently having lunch with Sandro, a charming Neapolitan computer science graduate doing a postdoc in my research group, who has a passion for great food and clean C code. We were discussing some recent aggregation results of histone modifications, an...
I was recently having lunch with Sandro, a charming Neapolitan computer science graduate doing a postdoc in my research group, who has a passion for great food and clean C code. We were discussing some recent aggregation resu...
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Scaling up bioinformatics training online
Bioinformatics
has grown very quickly since the EBI opened 20 years ago, and I think it’s fair
to say that it will grow even faster over the next 20 years. Biology is being
transformed to a fundamentally information-centric science, and a key part of
this h...
Bioinformatics has grown very quickly since the EBI opened 20 years ago, and I think it’s fair to say that it will grow even faster over the next 20 years. Biology is being transformed to a fundamentally information-centric s...
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‘Big Data’, genetics and translation
Today sees the
announcement of a new public–private partnership in science – the Centre for Therapeutic Target Validation – between EMBL-EBI, the Sanger Institute and
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). The collaboration is dedicated to developing a framework
for biolog...
Today sees the announcement of a new public–private partnership in science – the Centre for Therapeutic Target Validation – between EMBL-EBI, the Sanger Institute and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). The collaboration is dedicated to d...
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Making decisions: metrics and judgement
The conversation around impact factors and the assessment of research outputs, amplified by the recent 'splash' boycott by Randy Shuckman, is turning my mind to a different aspect of science - and indeed society - and that is the use of metrics. We are beco...
The conversation around impact factors and the assessment of research outputs, amplified by the recent 'splash' boycott by Randy Shuckman, is turning my mind to a different aspect of science - and indeed society - and that is...
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Have him in circles
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Jonathan Tedds's profile photo
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bi kini's profile photo
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Ewan Birney; a north london bioinformatician...
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