Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Sequencing Carmen Electra
One byproduct of playing with the Challenge Demo is that I come across some rather surprising results. For example, the rather staidly titled "Cryptic speciation and paraphyly in the cosmopolitan bryozoan Electra pilosa—Impact of the Tethys closing on species evolution" (doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2007.07.016) starts to look a whole lot more interesting given the taxon treemap (right).
The girl is Carmen Electra, which is understandable given the Yahoo image search was for "Electra" (a genus of bryozoan). However, what are the wild men (and women) doing at the top? Turns out this is the result of searching for the genus Homo. But why, you ask, does a paper on bryozoans have human sequences? Well, looks like the table in the paper has incorrect GenBank accession numbers. The sequences AJ711044-50 should, I'm guessing, be AJ971044-50.
Ironically, although it was Carmen Electra's photo that initially made me wonder what was going on, it's really the hairy folks above her image that signal something is wrong. I've come across at least one other example of a paper citing an incorrect sequences, so it might be time to automate this checking. Or, what is probably going to be more fun, looking at treemaps for obviously wrong images and trying to figure out why.