The year 2017 was full of new revolutionary biotechnology advances, not only a massification of new High Throughput Sequencing technologies as the ones created by Oxford Nanopore but also an increase in the usage of these technologies by researchers working on all areas related to Life Sciences, from biologists to veterinaries, farmers and medical doctors.

The low price of sequencing has also brought bioinformatics (or at least the need of) to households. Today any person interested in obtaining an accurate family genealogy tree or having some basic knowledge about genetic predisposition to develop a specific disease can do that for around 100€. There are many companies today offering single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) chip screening, exome sequencing and even whole genome sequencing (WGS) to the public. As an example, a company offers WGS for less than the magic 1000U$ level, a science fiction price a few years ago.

Today companies are not only providing genome sequencing services for human patients but also for pets like dogs, cats and horses. In the coming years, we are going to see business ideas using bioinformatics in many new fields; with only imagination as a limit.

This explosion in widespread usage of biotechnologies is creating a much more prominent need in education, in new easy of use analysis tools and also of an increasing number of people with expertise in the field of bioinformatics.

This issue of EMBnet.journal has articles about examples of new initiatives, analysis tools and network activities that reflect the scenario described above. The EMBnet network will during 2018 celebrate 30 years since its foundation. Therefore, the EMBnet.journal is working hard to create a more prosperous 2018 issue and full of interesting articles.

Erik Bongcam-Rudloff



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