The great philosopher Yogi Berra once said, “It’s tough to make predictions. Especially about the future.”
Indeed, he might have been talking about forecasting human traits (phenotypes) based on DNA sequence (genotypes). But if we are ever to make large-scale use of human genomes for human health, we must rise to this challenge. Among the visionaries who are tackling genome interpretation head on is Steven Brenner of UC Berkeley, who I write about in my book. Steve and colleagues John Moult and Susanna Repo have launched Critical Assessment of Genome Interpretation (CAGI):
…a community experiment to objectively assess computational methods for predicting phenotypic impacts of genomic variation and to inform future research directions. In this assessment, participants are provided genetic variants and make predictions of resulting phenotype. These predictions are evaluated against experimental characterizations by independent assessors. The CAGI experiment culminates with a community workshop and publications to disseminate results.
Prediction season is now open, i.e., participants now have the summer in which to make phenotypic predictions from provided datasets of genotypes. Don’t be shy!
(hat tip: George Church)