Philosophy of genome sequence studies. For the past four years I have been working on nucleotide sequence analyses of animal virus genetic material. During this time my attention has been more on the establishment and development of techniques than on the pursuit of analysis of one virus genome. Thus, I have worked on the genome RNAs and messenger RNAs of vesicular stomatitis virus and other rhabdoviruses, and also on the genome DNA of herpes simplex virus. It is evident that these form a rather disperse set of data on which to base this essay. Eventually, I decided to use the occasion to attempt to clear my own mind on the role of sequence analysis in research on animal viruses. I have from time to time encountered opinions hostile to or sceptical of such analysis. I have heard, often enough for it to stick, the term ‘mindless sequencing’.


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