Creating a bioinformatics nation

Stein, L. (May 2002) Creating a bioinformatics nation. Nature, 417 (6885). pp. 119-120. ISSN 0028-0836

DOI: 10.1038/417119a


A web-services model will allow biological data to be fully exploited. During the Middle Ages and early Renaissance, Italy was fragmented into dozens of rival city-states controlled by such legendary families as the Estes, Viscontis and Medicis. Though picturesque, this political fragmentation was ultimately damaging to science and commerce because of the lack of standardization in everything from weights and measures to the tax code to the currency to the very dialects people spoke. A fragmented and technologically weak society was vulnerable to conquest, and from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries Italy was dominated by invading powers. The old city-states of Italy are an apt metaphor for bioinformatics today. The field is dominated by rival groups, each promoting its web sites, services and data formats. Unarguably, this environment of creative chaos has greatly enriched the field. But it has also created a significant hindrance to researchers wishing to exploit the wealth of genome data to its fullest. Despite its shaky beginning, the nation of Italy was eventually forged through a combination of violent and diplomatic efforts. It is now a strong and stable component of a larger economic unit, the European Union, with which it shares a common currency, a common set of weights and measures, and a common set of rules for national and international commerce. My hope is that bioinformatics will one day achieve the same degree of strength and stability by adopting a universal code of conduct along the lines I propose here.

Item Type: Paper
Subjects: bioinformatics
CSHL Authors:
Communities: CSHL labs > Stein lab
Depositing User: Matt Covey
Date: May 2002
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2013 19:33
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2013 19:33
Related URLs:

Actions (login required)

Administrator's edit/view item Administrator's edit/view item
CSHL HomeAbout CSHLResearchEducationNews & FeaturesCampus & Public EventsCareersGiving