Population genomics rising

1 minute read

Genetic Future has been on fire lately, with various announcements from and about genomics testing companies. More on that later. Today, he reflects upon the publication of two non-European genomes in the current Nature:

So attention has already well and truly turned to converting sequence into biological meaning - and that's a job that will ultimately require many hundreds of thousands of genome sequences, each attached to information about biological traits and disease status. That means the end of the brief era of high-profile "single human genome" papers, which started in a sense with the anonymised, pooled and fragmented human reference sequences published in 2001, peaked with the celebrity genomes of Venter and Watson in 2007/2008, and now ends (I suspect) with two anonymous non-European genomes.
Human genetics now moves into a phase of new challenges and rewards - the era of population genomics.

It’s a good post, with the thesis that we will never again see a paper published in a major journal to report the genome sequence of a single individual. I demur for a special case: We’ll see fossil and archaeological genome sequences in major journals for quite some time to come. I suppose after a few Egyptian or Neolithic genomes, those also will be reported many individuals at a time. But Pleistocene remains will always be singular.

In the meantime, of course population genomics is what we’re all about here in the Hawks lab. Single-locus genetics has gone the way of the dodo. Er…I suppose if you study dodos, you’d better go whole-genome with them, too. My only question: exactly how much hard drive space am I expected to have, if I’m going to deal with 100,000 genomes?