Comparative and Functional Genomics

Edited by:
  • Steve Oliver
Wiley. 6/yr. $240 (institutional); $180 (individual)

Less than a decade ago, some expression data, a few kilobases of sequence and an alignment were still sufficient to wring a publication out of Science, Nature and other high-brow publications. Nowadays, of course, scientists need to come up with whole genomes. Such is the pace of progress that even publication in more specialized journals such as Genomics and Genome Research requires mega- or even tera-buckets of data, beyond the scope of the average lab. For those researchers (most of us actually) who work in the smaller lab environment, it is vital that public databases are mined and interpreted to their full extent, both to enrich our knowledge of specific genes or pathways and to allow the design of more effective experiments. It is equally important to be able to shout about it and let others know just how fascinating and groundbreaking your research really is.

The use of comparative genomics as a means to investigate gene function is a direct result of the wealth of genomic data in public databases, and has led to its widespread application in dissecting gene function. It is therefore essential that this new discipline has a dedicated journal in which to disseminate these findings. Comparative and Functional Genomics fills the void and is appropriately forward thinking and looking in concept and design. As well as presenting a (currently slightly thin) selection of original articles and reviews, it includes comprehensive coverage of meetings in the field, as well as a particularly useful 'Current awareness' section, which lists recently published reviews and papers by subject matter.

Despite the organization and clarity of many large public databases, a huge amount of data and tools lurk in an enormous number of 'genomics' websites — well over half-a-million pages according to a search on Google ( Perhaps in recognition of this Internet genomics jungle (or perhaps jumble is more appropriate), Comparative and Functional Genomics regularly carries a website review, which usually involves a jolly good trawl through some of the myriad sites surrounding a particular topic, such as cancer.

The quality of the reviews and original research published in the journal is high, and no doubt once it starts popping up in the citation indices, the quantity of submissions will also increase. This is assured, as many researchers are starting to combine in silico comparative analyses with functional annotation, a necessary and important consequence of genomic sequencing. There is clearly a demand for this type of journal, and until recently the options for publishing in this area have been very limited. I only hope that Comparative and Functional Genomics doesn't outgrow the needs of the scientist who is content to work on genes, rather than on whole genomes.