Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hypotheses or data first? Update 2

Since we seem to be on a roll on the what should come first in science, this Nature article actually presents a much better written and argued case in favour of combining the strengths of both approaches (maybe scientists should do what they are good at, science, and leave the writing to, journalists with a PhD?). Some of the costs for doing these genome studies: US$1 billion. How does that stack up to other funding, I have no idea, but this is a big number.

The one aspect that she does not address, and that strikes me as the most crucial aspect, is that mutations seem not to be the main driver! The "poster child of gene mutations", IDH1, appears in 0.3% (1 out of 335) of colorectal, 12% of a type of brain cancer, and 8% of a type of leukaemia cancer. So does this mean that in more than 90% of the cases there is another cause for these cancers? Or what am I missing here, because from that perspective, this seems to be a huge waste of time and effort indeed!

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