Hello! Welcome to genomeboy. I am thrilled to be part of a science blogging network replete with all manner of folks who, unlike moi, actually know what the hell they’re doing. Up until now, my science blogging experience has just been me in all of my fecklessness, my blog alone and adrift upon the cyber-sea. Case in point: In my previous incarnation I could not tame the spam monster, so eventually I simply closed comments altogether. It was a solution, I guess, but not a very elegant one.
But those days are OVER. The PLoS people haz got my back, yo!
I am also humbled by the august company I’m suddenly keeping. My fellow PLoS Bloggers are simply some of the finest writers and thinkers about science anywhere in the universe. I say this without a single iota of irony: it is truly an honor to be among them.
A non-sequitur shout out: My blog header is a freebie from the Sexiest Dirty Underground Theme created by a talented person named Jimmy from Manitoba.
Okay, so here are some throat-clearing preliminaries and disclaimers:
My name is Misha Angrist. This may come as a shock, but that is not a pseudonym. I am a recovering geneticist with a PhD from Case Western Reserve University. I trained as a genetic counselor but never took the boards. I am also a writer. After my stint in the genetic research mines I went to writing school for two glorious low-residential years here. Since 2008 I’ve worked as an assistant professor here. It’s a great job and I hope none of my bloviations on this blog will do anything to jeopardize it. Not that that will keep me from mouthing off about all sorts of stuff.
- Let’s talk about the name of this site…just once, though. When I told a friend that I was going to be one of the first ten subjects in George Church’s Personal Genome Project (PGP) and get my DNA sequenced, she said, “Why you? What makes you so special, Genome Boy?” I thought that was funny.
- The answer to my friend’s question, of course, is nothing: Nothing makes me special. I simply volunteered for the PGP. I had the requisite “master’s degree in genetics or equivalent” and thought it sounded cool. The PGP now has more than 10,000 prospective volunteers in the queue waiting to contribute their DNA and health information and make them public. But genomes, public or not, are getting less special all the time: they are cheap and getting cheaper. What that will mean for people is an abiding source of fascination for me.
- Personal genomics is often perceived in somewhat narrow terms, namely, the decoding and interpretation of one’s own DNA, typically for health reasons. But DNA is not only about health and DNA in a vacuum is not much use–I’m afraid I know this all too well. So I would like to expand the conversation as much as possible and venture into subjects such as human identity and DNA’s connection to genotype and phenotype, and to talk about ancestry, forensics, nutrition, evolution, pop culture, etc.
- This site will also reflect my–gasp–non-genomic interests: comments about and links to books, litbloggy stuff, music and the occasional puerile video, for example.
- I welcome your comments and don’t expect to ever close the comments section, either out of laziness or spam-aversion. It’s really pretty simple: I ask only for civility. I do my best to avoid ad hominem attacks on people, no matter how repugnant and poisonous I might find them to be. Please try to do the same. Don’t post something that you wouldn’t have the cojones or ovarios to say to someone’s corporeal face.
- I can guarantee you that I will not post everyday. I simply don’t have the deep reservoir of stuff to say…and I’d like to think that I have a life that transcends pixels. So whatever pleasure (or pain) you get from here will be intermittent. That said, I’m often hanging out in the twitterverse (@MishaAngrist) and am generally not hard to find.
- I am excited! I remember when blogging was greeted with either blank stares or contempt. In some quarters, apparently, it still is. But we’ve come a long way, baby.
- Hello there!