2016: An Eventful Year for GigaScience

This year has been an eventful one, probably too eventful for many.  For GigaScience it has been eventful too, although fortunately in a much more positive way than many have experienced. While there are fears of us entering a “post-truth” era, there is more need than ever for our role as promoters of transparency, reproducibility and providers of cold-hard data. We celebrated our birthday with Mickey Mouse, and experienced many other milestones. On the technical front, this year we have brought you better integration with citable and updatable methods, bigger better and broader data types, and much more. In the tradition of end-of-year-introspection, here is a summary of some of our 2016 achievements as we continue to push the boundaries of innovative publishing of all research objects and reproducible research.

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Ginkgo genome fills an evolutionary hole

New in GigaScience is an article that presents the genome sequence of Ginkgo biloba, the oldest extant tree species. The research was carried out by a team of scientists at BGI, Zheijiang University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, who tackled and analyzed an exceptionally large genome, totalling more than 10Gb. Ginkgo is considered by some as a “living fossil”, its form and structure having changed very little in 270 million years. Its unique position in the evolutionary tree of life means the ginkgo genome will provide an extensive resource for studying early events in tree development and evolution.

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Personal Genomics Enters a New Phase

Individual human genomes are diploid in nature, with half of the homologous chromosomes derived from each parent. The context in which variations occur on each individual chromosome has profound effects on the action and clinical importance of the genes on it, but this “haplotype” information has been mostly ignored in genomics research to date. A wealth of new data released from the Personal Genome Project via a new Data Note helps fill this gap by releasing the largest set of high coverage whole human genome assemblies with experimentally determined haplotypes to date.

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Guest posting: Conda as a new standard for Galaxy tool dependencies

The Galaxy community is one that shares similar reproducibility goals with GigaScience, having a computational platform that allows users to share workflows, histories and wrapped computational tools in an easy-to-use and open source interface. Björn Grüning and The Intergalactic Utilities Commission of Galaxy have a guest posting here to announce new changes that will make development and presentation of tools and pipelines through Galaxy even more reproducible and usable.

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Of big fish and small genomes. Ocean sunfish shines.

The genome of the ocean sunfish (Mola mola), the world’s largest bony fish, has been just been published in GigaScience by researchers at A*STAR, Singapore, and China National Genebank. Here we talk to the researchers, including Nobel Laureate Sydney Brenner, on how the project came together, the slightly unusual sample collection, and how hope this work helps to provide insight into the fish’s extraordinary growth rate and unique body shape.

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