Using a "distributed grid of undergraduate students" to annotate genomes

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Sandra Porter

I just love this title! It's nerdy and cute, all at the same time.

I read about this in and had to check out the paper and blog write up from The Beagle Project (BTW: some of you may be interested in knowing that The Beagle Project is not a blog about dogs.)

The paper describes a class where students from Marseilles University investigate the function of unidentified genes from a Global Ocean Sampling experiment. All the sequences are obtained from the environmental sequence division at the NCBI.

Students follow the procedure outlined below:


This is a great project and it's wonderful to see. I agree with the instructor about this part:

Could we envisage that student annotations be made public, contributing to a long-term international distributed annotation jamboree of large (meta)genomics datasets? This exciting possibility would undoubtedly be welcomed as a further incentive by participating students [6], and could even yield useful, if modest, scientific contributions.

It would be wonderful if there were a way to add the student contributions to the store of public knowledge.

Readers - do you can you suggest a place where the students can contribute their results?

Hingamp P, Brochier C, Talla E, Gautheret D, Thieffry D and Herrmann C. (2008). Metagenome annotation using a distributed grid of undergraduate students. PLoS Biol, 6(11): e296 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0060296