Occasionally I remember that Google Trends exists. I then get very excited by all of the things I can look at. Today I decided to look at the relative popularity of different domains in the life sciences filed including Epigenetics, Proteomics, Genomics and Microbiome studies.
Proteomics - Large scale study of proteins and their structure and function. This helps learn what kind of proteins are present in cells, how their structures and chemical make up influence what their functions are, and how perturbing these structures can alter their ability to perform their duties.
Genomics - Kind of a wide field, but essentially it is centered around understanding the actual DNA code of organisms. This can be looking at variations that can cause disease, or simply trying to build a good "reference" for new organisms. Genomics focuses on the ACGTs of life.
Epigenetics - This is a relatively new and growing area of research that looks at "the code on top of the code". All humans share 99.9% identical DNA, so what makes us different? Epigenetics looks at why certain genes are "turned on" or "turned off", how the DNA is physically structured inside the cell, how silencing events can occur, and many other highly focused specialities.
Microbiome - This is probably the most recent of the fields to develop, and probably one of the most talked about in main-stream society. This is looking at the billions of little bugs living on and inside of us, creating an environment for us to function properly. Microbiome studies, like looking at bacterial populations in constipated and non-constipated patients clearly show that their is much to human health that we do not understand.
I wanted to look at the popularity of these fields over time. Proteomics and Genomics are relatively old comparatively, being around for many decades now, while Microbiome and Epigenetics are fairly new. The trends are interesting!
Epigentics and Microbiome are increasingly becoming more popular in terms of searches. I assume that is because they are growing in popularity in research institutions, and also they are the cool "buzz words" for grant funding.
I was blown away though to see the regional trends of searches. In general, China is FAR more interested in all things "omics" then we are, by a lot. Also, there seems to be fortresses of research in America, including Bethesda, Maryland home to NIH, California home to UCSC and illumina, and various other cities like Boston, Ann Arbor, New York etc. It is interesting to see how regional searches for this type of information is.
I love playing with Google Trends, and interesting information can be learned from it. Different types of sequencing like "RNA-Seq" dominate searches, while novel protocols like "ATAC-Seq" aren't even found.
Anyways, I suppose I am a nerd, as the blogs title suggests. Happy Weekend!