GMOs, flatmates and lateral gene transfer.

Right about one year ago, I was sharing a flat with some Spanish guys in the deep heart of Grácia, an historical neighbourhood in Barcelona. To be honest, those guys fitted quite well into the definition of "friki" - Spanish transliteration of the term "freaky" - that indicate that kind of people attracted by oriental … Continue reading GMOs, flatmates and lateral gene transfer.

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The four most stupid things I have ever done in bioinformatics.

It was a cold November morning, year 2011. Sapienza University has a huge campus next to the city centre of Rome, where the main faculties are stored in huge buildings in the rationalist style. Yet, the faculty of Biochemistry has a detached site in the neighboured flanking the campus, San Lorenzo. I was crossing the streets of … Continue reading The four most stupid things I have ever done in bioinformatics.

Italian Minister of Health authored the preface of a book supporting homoeopathy.

War on Science, yet another chapter. I think that anyone working in Science or caring about it, and anyone who aims to a growth in the public opinion's awareness on the scientific issues of global interest, tends to spend some time to contrast hoaxes, misconceptions and anti-scientific propaganda. The most of the times, you end … Continue reading Italian Minister of Health authored the preface of a book supporting homoeopathy.

Project Rosalind: learn bioinformatics and programming through problem solving

We could agree that a bioinformatician is basically a naked, starving castaway who's trying to survive in a desert island. As in one of those realities that run on tv, or in the movie starring Tom Hanks, he is provided with a knife, quite a few clothes, and a good dose of motivation. In this allegory, … Continue reading Project Rosalind: learn bioinformatics and programming through problem solving

Genome3D organisation and evolution. Going beyond flat files.

The genome is a real thing, and this is something we strongly need to keep in mind. The development of bioinformatics has brought us to make a very important, but still bold simplification. A strong focus on sequences, and the information they bear, allowed us to understand how genes determine the structure and function of proteins, … Continue reading Genome3D organisation and evolution. Going beyond flat files.

Software for pipeline creation with Python.

We already had the chance to discuss about the importance of reproduciblity in computational research, and to comment some good practices to improve it. As we read the Ten Simple Rules that Sandve and co-workers proposed the last October, we cannot help but underline the importance of pipelines. A correct pipeline- based approach will prevent researchers from potentially harmful manual interventions … Continue reading Software for pipeline creation with Python.

The role of mathematical modelling in evolutionary biology.

The role of mathematical modelling in evolutionary biology is pretty questioned, although its integral role in studies on evolution. Differently from other scientific disciplines, such as Physics or Chemistry, Biology was born as a descriptive science, and the affirmation of mathematics as an effective and indispensable part of investigation is still to be fully accomplished. … Continue reading The role of mathematical modelling in evolutionary biology.