Dividends from the chicken genome

Gallus gallusJust saw on the GenomeWeb Daily News that: 

 “Researchers at Michigan State University, the University of Delaware, and Texas A&M worked with funding from the USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service to identify individual genes that are linked to MDV, or Marek’s disease, a highly contagious viral disease that costs the worldwide poultry industry $1 billion per year.”

 It makes me very happy to see articles like this, for multiple reasons. First off, it is evidence that our expenditures for “a genome a day” actually do result in public benefit. I really hope the news media picks up this success story – we could use more public support for funding research. 

Second…it is yet more evidence that collaborations are beneficial. Back in my grad school days I was taught never to talk about failed experiments because it might help a competitor avoid making similar mistakes, thereby helping them to win the race to publish. But more & more I am seeing that mind set change – on my GenomeWeb Daily News email is a cover shot that says “Team Science v. Tenure: Why does academia still discourage collaboration?”.  At the bloggers conference I saw all sorts of collaboration projects, from open notebooks to the Myelin Repair Foundation (which I’ve been meaning to blog on). I think the trend is great because, as the old saying goes “two minds are better than one.”