I was thinking about how us humans have 25,000 or so genes, and I know nothing about 99.9% of them. And I call myself a molecular geneticist! Wouldn't it be nice to know a little more about the strands of DNA that play a big part in making up who we are? I think it would be, so I'm going to start a semi-frequent excersion into the human genome and invite any willing blog readers to join with me. There are all kinds of databases just brimming with all kinds of info, so where is a poor boy to start? For some reason, I've always had an aversion to human genetics and disease genes. Don't ask me why, but I find the whole mentality of "a gene is only interesting if it is responsible for causing a disease" a bit boring. As a result, human disease genes represent a rather significant gap in my knowledge. So, in an effort at self-improvement, I decided that the Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) database would be my starting point. For those unfamiliar with OMIM, it is a searchable database of human genetic disorders and their associated genes. The problem then becomes what I should search for. I kind of want this to be an undirected journey of discovery, so I needed something to provide me with random search terms. Since I am not aware of any program that spits out random genetic loci or human disease names, I thought I would use the Random Word Generator to provide me with search terms. I was a little worried that most of my searches using random nouns would result in messages like "Search term not found" or something to that effect. But, I did a few test runs, and every random word thus far has provided me with at least one gene. So, for each excersion, I'll use the first word that the Random Word Genie grants me, and if more than one gene comes up in my search, I'll just pick the top of the list. Them the rules, and next time we'll start our journey into the vast expanse of the human genome.