Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry.
— Richard Feynman
As individuals, we all have slightly different genomes. If you compare the genomes of two people, you will find about 3 million base pair differences, which is about 0.1% of the genome.
This variation exists not only within the population but potentially also, to a lesser extent, among our cells, which number around 40 trillion. That's roughly 10,000 cells for each base in your 3 billion base genome. And each has a role to play.
|POG cases, by tissue type|
|Soft tissue ●||44||8.1|
|Head and neck ●||6||1.1|
|Central nervous system ●||5||0.9|
One consequence of this complexity and variation is that changes in the genome (through mutation or other processes) can have very different effects, depending on both the change and the genome. Cancer is a phenomena in which cells' ability to organize themselves as they divide is altered due to changes in the genome. It is an incredibly complex biological phenomenon—considering all the genomes in the population and all the possible changes that may arise, there is truly an inexhaustible number of ways in which the genome can break.
Cancers are classified according to their site of origin, such as lung, breast, liver, or colon. This is a coarse grouping—within each group there are many subtypes with differences in response to treatment and overall behaviour.
The design of the POG art highlights the diversity and similarity among cases. The diversity is what makes the study of cancer difficult and the similarities are what makes inference possible.
Each case is represented by three concentric rings. The width of each ring represents the extent to which the case is similar (as measured by correlation) to cancers of the type encoded by the color of the ring (see Methods).
In additional to the posters, I've created remixes for your desktop at 4k resolution.
The presence of constraints in experiments, such as sample size restrictions, awkward blocking or disallowed treatment combinations may make using classical designs very difficult or impossible.
Optimal design is a powerful, general purpose alternative for high quality, statistically grounded designs under nonstandard conditions.
We discuss two types of optimal designs (D-optimal and I-optimal) and show how it can be applied to a scenario with sample size and blocking constraints.
Smucker, B., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2018) Points of significance: Optimal experimental design Nature Methods 15:599–600.
Krzywinski, M., Altman, N. (2014) Points of significance: Two factor designs. Nature Methods 11:1187–1188.
Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2014) Points of significance: Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and blocking. Nature Methods 11:699–700.
Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2014) Points of significance: Designing comparative experiments. Nature Methods 11:597–598.
An illustration of the Tree of Life, showing some of the key branches.
The tree is drawn as a DNA double helix, with bases colored to encode ribosomal RNA genes from various organisms on the tree.
All living things on earth descended from a single organism called LUCA (last universal common ancestor) and inherited LUCA’s genetic code for basic biological functions, such as translating DNA and creating proteins. Constant genetic mutations shuffled and altered this inheritance and added new genetic material—a process that created the diversity of life we see today. The “tree of life” organizes all organisms based on the extent of shuffling and alteration between them. The full tree has millions of branches and every living organism has its own place at one of the leaves in the tree. The simplified tree shown here depicts all three kingdoms of life: bacteria, archaebacteria and eukaryota. For some organisms a grey bar shows when they first appeared in the tree in millions of years (Ma). The double helix winding around the tree encodes highly conserved ribosomal RNA genes from various organisms.
Johnson, H.L. (2018) The Whole Earth Cataloguer, Sactown, Jun/Jul, p. 89
An article about keyboard layouts and the history and persistence of QWERTY.
McDonald, T. (2018) Why we can't give up this odd way of typing, BBC, 25 May 2018.
I've previously taken a more fine-art approach to cover design, such for those of Nature, Genome Research and Trends in Genetics. I've used microscopy images to create a cover for PNAS—the one that made biology look like astrophysics—and thought that this is kind of material I'd start with for the MCS cover.
A map of the nearby superclusters and voids in the Unvierse.
By "nearby" I mean within 6,000 million light-years.