Tuesday, 17 December 2013 at 12:20 pm

I got an acceptance e-mail from Hacker School last night after a short written application and 2 interviews. Hacker School is a workshop for programmers. It aims to be a safe environment for people at different skill levels to come together and learn. You spend 3 months in New York working by yourself or collaborating with other like-minded people on whatever projects that interest you. It might sound kind of self indulgent, but so is graduate school in some sense. 

They accept a very diverse group of people from what I've read. Maybe I'll meet another bioinformatician there. I am looking forward to seeing how this goes.

Now I just have to finish writing this thesis...




  Tuesday, 10 December 2013 at 5:38 pm

Bayes theorem is perhaps the most well known theorem in the statistics of conditional probabilities. It goes like this:

P(A|B) = P(B|A) * P(A) / P(B)
 
P(A) means the probability of an outcome named 'A'. P(A|B) means the probability of an outcome named 'A' given that the outcome, named 'B' has occurred.
 
In this post, I'll present a couple of intuitions about this theorem.



  Thursday, 05 December 2013 at 10:40 am

I came across this pop science article yesterday:

http://aeon.co/magazine/nature-and-cosmos/why-its-time-to-lay-the-selfish-gene-to-rest/

The author argues that a gene-centric perspective of evolution, made popular by Dawkins with "The Selfish Gene", is not correct and we should focus our attention on other mechanisms such as gene expression. 

The fallacy with his argument stems from a misunderstanding of what Dawkins was trying to present. The selfish gene can basically be boiled down to: "The most basic unit of heredity is a gene".

This idea is only gene-centric in the sense that we think it is the most fundamental unit of heredity. Biologists understand there are many many layers of complexity (including gene expression) above genes that ultimately contributes to the phenotype. There are plenty of research done at the level of gene expression networks, protein translation, protein folding, cell organization, tissue engineering...etc.

A more valid arguement against "The Selfish Gene" is the use of the term "gene". The definition of a gene is becoming more murky than ever (here is a great paper on this: http://genome.cshlp.org/content/23/12/1961.full?rss=1). The most basic unit of heredity perhaps should be any genomic feature that contributes to the phenotype? Whatever that may be.




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