We often post stories or podcasts on these pages about the latest genome sequencing news. Genome Alberta was part of the Bovine sequencing project, we helped fund the human metabolome project, and in our neighbouring province, Genome Prairie made the news recently as one of the organizations supporting the sequencing of 15 wheat varieties.
However there is one species on the planet that has been overlooked by our various funding initiatives. I am course, referring to the Gnome. It is after all ubiquitous around the world in many countries and cultures yet, to my knowledge at least, has never been the subject of an LSARP or GAPP proposal.
How can it have escaped the attention of the ‘omics community?
When I was still with the CBC I produced an overnight phone-in talk show. Nightwatch was a CBC Radio experiment for one summer which broke a few rules and luckily got some dispensation to break a few more. I was the Program Manager in Edmonton but acted as the program’s producer, the late Bill Macloughlin was the technician and Associate Producer, and was known on air as ‘Captain Billy. Don Hill was the host.
It was on-air before ‘fake news’ or the ‘infodemic’ had made it into our everyday language but one of the objectives of the show was to take on some of the conspiracy theories that were found on private radio overnight programs at the time. Alien conspiracy theories, chem-trails for secret geo-engineering projects, portals to other universes, and other similar stories all made our nightly line-up. We addressed the stories head-on with the proponents and invited listeners to join the conversation. “Don’t be afraid to use big words” was one of our taglines.
As Gnomes tend to re-appear around this time of year, I asked him if it was time to once again apply our crack Nightwatch journalistic and broadcast skills to uncover the truth about the Gnome genome and as always, be prepared to use big words in getting to the heart of the story.
He agreed and together we have created Genome Alberta’s GermLine Investigative Unit.
The investigation has been weeks in the making and there have been hurdles to overcome. As it falls outside traditional project funding guidelines, we had to scrape around for budget bits and pieces to ensure we met our lofty standards. Not surprisingly co-funding was nowhere to be found.
Now the first look at the fruits of our labour is ready for viewing. We hope there will be more to come in the New Year now that we have begun to lift the veil of secrecy around the Gnome genome.
We encourage you to pop open your social media accounts and post pictures of your loyal Gnome companions – especially the Christmas kind – using the hashtag #GnomeGenome . We will help spread the word and there might be some Genome Alberta swag to share randomly. There is also a graphic version of the team's work available.