With genomes, bigger may really be better…

…as targets for genome sequencing in order to avoid bias in what we discover about gene regulation from sequenced genomes, because so far only small genomes have been sequenced. Such is the message reported at the HHMI based on a recent paper by Michael Eisen. I have written about the major problem of drawing broad conclusions from the biased sequenced genome dataset, and I am very excited to see someone else noting that we really need to examine more diversity. I have been meaning to write a paper on why we need large-scale genome size surveys and why sequencing people should be enthusiastic about it (maybe even help fund it). Here is another great reason that I will cite.

It so happens that a student in my lab will soon be initiating a project on dipteran genome sizes — this gives it even broader significance. I might point out that tephritids do not have “big genomes” for insects by my reckoning (for that, you would need to get beyond holometabolous orders). Finally, if you’re wondering why Drosophila genomes are so streamlined, it actually looks like development may constrain how large they can be.

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