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Volume 15, Number 4—April 2009

Another Dimension

Travels in Gene Space

Julian W. TangComments to Author 
Author affiliation: National University Hospital, Singapore

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EID Tang JW. Travels in Gene Space. Emerg Infect Dis. 2009;15(4):681.
AMA Tang JW. Travels in Gene Space. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2009;15(4):681. doi:10.3201/eid1504.080823.
APA Tang, J. W. (2009). Travels in Gene Space. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 15(4), 681.
The Captain peers over the bow of his computer ship,
Floating down the river of evolution-time,
In the landscape of gene-space.
Gene sequences running parallel on either side,
Spreading, evolving, as far as the eye can see.
Ahead, the future is unclear, sequences shrouded in mist.
But this is no surprise.
Prediction is a risky business.
Looking behind, some sequences shine brightly,
Known samples, from known times.
Others are blurred in the mists of time past.
The Captain taps his keyboard.
Some of the mist dissipates,
And some sequences become visible
In the light of inference.
An epidemic history revealed perhaps?
The Captain sighs and taps his keyboard again.
His environment changes.
He is now surrounded by hills and valleys,
With moving figures all around him.
Markov Chain Monte Carlo robots,
Walking, climbing, up and down.
Some, aimlessly wandering in circles,
In the undulating landscape of tree-space.
He taps his keyboard once more.
The MCMC robots change direction,
Seemingly, becoming more purposeful.
The Captain allows himself a smile.
Suddenly, he feels a tug on his leg.
Looking down, he sees the cherubic face
Of his young son, looking up at him.
“Can we play football, daddy?”

Dr Tang is a clinical and academic virologist with an interest in viral molecular epidemiology and evolution, particularly how sequence analysis with phylogenetic techniques may enhance our understanding of how outbreaks and epidemics may arise and evolve.

Cite This Article

DOI: 10.3201/eid1504.080823

Table of Contents – Volume 15, Number 4—April 2009


Please use the form below to submit correspondence to the authors or contact them at the following address:

Julian W. Tang, Division of Microbiology/Molecular Diagnostic Centre, Department of Laboratory Medicine, National University Hospital, 5 Lower Kent Ridge Rd, Singapore 119074

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