Friday, September 19, 2008
Last week I was at NESCent's 2008 Community Summit. As part of that meeting a few of us had a breakout group on "Biodiversity and phylogenetics". Brian O'Meara took some spectacularly thorough notes, including the pithy:
Julia Clarke and I were advocating data mining, not entirely successfully. At one point I started ranting about post-phylogenetics (i.e., what do do when we've basically got the tree of life). For a brief moment I thought this might be a cool new term to use, although Googling finds that W. Ford Doolittle has used it in the title of talks given at the Wenner-Gren Foundations International Symposium at Stockholm in 2003, and at Penn State in 2006. However, the 2006 talk title (Postphylogenetics: The Tree of Life in the Light of Lateral Gene Transfer) suggests a different meaning (i.e., there isn't a tree of life to be found). I prefer to think of it in the same sense as "postgenomics" -- now that we have all this information, how can we make the best use of it?