When genes beat cheese

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Google Trends is an amazing tool that can shed light on important historical trends relating to politics, religion, and society as a whole. It can also be used to see whether 'genes' has ever been a more popular search term than 'cheese'.

Looking across the whole corpus of Google Trends data (2004–present) it reveals — in the UK at least — that 'genes' came tantalisingly close to overtaking 'cheese' in popularity in 2007:

But wait! If we zoom in to that early part of 2007 we see that for a glorious week at the start of February that 'genes' was indeed a more popular search term than 'cheese'!

British genes for British people?

This historic victory for genetics seems to be a British phenomenon. Running the same search in other countries, or using the 'worldwide' dataset, doesn't reveal the same pattern. Here is what the genes vs cheese fight looks like in America:


I have described an important historic event but I am at a loss to explain why this trend emerged. The trend starts on January 30th 2007…I have searched Google for genes-related news around this time but nothing notable crops up. Any ideas?

Back from the dead…time for a new JABBA award!

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I really wasn't intending to hand out any more JABBA awards. The last time I gave out an award for a bogus bioinformatics acronym was back in February 2016 and that was meant to be that.

However, I recently saw something that sent a shiver down my spine and I felt obliged to dust off the JABBA award one more time (for now anyway).

Let's get straight to the point. Published in bioarXiv is a new preprint:

Now don't get me wrong, I love burritos and I think it's kind of a fun name for a piece of software. I just happen to think that in this case it is a somewhat tenuous acronym. So how do you get to make BURRITO the name of your tool?

Browser Utility for Relating micRobiome Information on Taxonomy and functiOn

It's the inclusion of 'O' from 'functiOn' that gets me.I guess 'BURMITF' didn't have such a good ring to it.

What else is on the menu?

Note that BURRITO shouldn't be confused with the QIIME application controller code called burrito-fillings or the electronic lab notebook software for computational researchers known as Burrito.

Also, you get bonus points if you can use BURRITO with SALSA. Of course, if BURRITO doesn't work out for you, then maybe try TACO or…er, TACO.