Forum: (Closed) Seeking Collaborators for project
2
gravatar for elginong1
3.6 years ago by
elginong120
elginong120 wrote:

THIS IS A SPAM POST posed as a legitimate bioinformatics related question. This is probably the first bioinformatics spam in the history. We are keeping this post as a reference.

Hi,

I am doing an independent research on the current evolutionary patterns of homo sapiens.

I am about to receive the raw FASTQ data of the WGS of a certain individual with unknown or novel mutations. The data might show some pieces of unknown sequences and they cannot be found in any database. The variance is not SNP-based and not seen before in the human populations sequenced to date.

I would like to map the data to the human genome and all other species in the animal kingdom. What is the protocol for further research on the leftover unknown/unusual sequences?

The targeted phenotype of the individual itself is undocumented and unknown, so the chromosomal or genetic mutations are definitely unmappable reads.

Please reply soon

Sincerely,

Elgin Ong

novel sequence forum • 2.0k views
ADD COMMENTlink modified 3.5 years ago by Khader Shameer18k • written 3.6 years ago by elginong120
1

Are you the PI of the project? Can you give further details including your affiliations, source of your data, current funding (if any), etc.? Providing link to your social profiles would help -- may be a link to your LinkedIn or something like that?

ADD REPLYlink modified 3.6 years ago • written 3.6 years ago by Khader Shameer18k

Dear Khader,

I actually major in Computing during my undergraduate days at the University of Tasmania and so had no theses on biology. This is the first time I am doing such a research. However, I did took some courses in Bioinformatics from the University of Toronto. My only affiliation is to my company BioBase.

I have asked a friend to do some additional analysis. They are in a Dropbox. See if you can detect any known or unusual variations/insertion/deletions. I think it will only take a couple of hours. They are snpeff, vcf format, chimeric and fusion reports. Can I send you the Dropbox?

Elgin

ADD REPLYlink modified 3.6 years ago • written 3.6 years ago by elginong120
1

I think there is something fishy here. The OP is trying to push a link to a Dropbox with some disjointed suggestions. Scamming via Dropbox is a new trend. Also as per google the first name and last name of OP is referring to the name of the ghost towns.

  • For example, University of Tasmania has bioinformatics courses: http://www.utas.edu.au/courses/set/units/kma712-bioinformatics
  • Author don't have any biologists/genetics expert on board, where/how did he generate the data?
  • He is offering, authorship, money and a bit of shock :)
  • Still no LinkedIn/other social profile
ADD REPLYlink written 3.5 years ago by Khader Shameer18k
1

My only affiliation is to my company BioBase.

Per google there are two companies called BioBase. One is clearly a bioinformatics/knowledge company so there should be plenty of people in house to tackle this challenge (even on a personal basis). The other BioBase appears to be a safety equipment manufacturer.

ADD REPLYlink written 3.5 years ago by genomax80k

My company is registered in SIngapore.

ADD REPLYlink written 3.5 years ago by elginong120

The sequencing is outsourced to a sequencing company. Elgin Ong can be found at Linkedln. My company website is still under construction but you can have a peek at www.biobase.webs.com

ADD REPLYlink written 3.5 years ago by elginong120

All are welcome to be a co-author on my paper. You shouldn't underestimate the power of this paper. It is a discovery of a new variant or species with traits that will shock the world. I am also willing to pay for your work.

I have asked a friend to do some additional analysis. They are in a Dropbox. See if you can detect any known or unusual variations/insertion/deletions. I think it will only take a couple of hours. They are snpeff, vcf format, chimeric and fusion reports.

Elgin

ADD REPLYlink modified 3.6 years ago • written 3.6 years ago by elginong120

Please don't post similar content multiple times (and also as a new answer).

ADD REPLYlink modified 3.6 years ago • written 3.6 years ago by genomax80k

Hello elginong1!

We believe that this post does not fit the main topic of this site.

Based on collective evidence/suggestion of BioStars members, this post is deemed as a scam.

For this reason we have closed your question. This allows us to keep the site focused on the topics that the community can help with.

If you disagree please tell us why in a reply below, we'll be happy to talk about it.

Cheers!

ADD REPLYlink written 3.5 years ago by Khader Shameer18k
11
gravatar for Istvan Albert
3.6 years ago by
Istvan Albert ♦♦ 83k
University Park, USA
Istvan Albert ♦♦ 83k wrote:

I would suggest to formulate the request so that it also specifies how the other party benefits from working with you.

Simply stating you got all this work that needs to be done is not all that enticing - after all smart and capable individuals already have jobs and you need to compete for their time and skills. What is it that you offer them? Otherwise it is no different than posting in a gardening groups that: "Hey folks my grass is getting overgrown and it needs to be cut soon".

Hence you should clearly state whether this is a paid position and how the collaborator will be rewarded for participating.

ADD COMMENTlink modified 3.6 years ago • written 3.6 years ago by Istvan Albert ♦♦ 83k
5
gravatar for Jared Evans
3.5 years ago by
Jared Evans80
Rochester, MN, USA
Jared Evans80 wrote:

I agree with others that this sounds fishy and could be a scam. I received the following email today using contact info pulled from a recent publication. Almost every paragraph had slightly different font and text size so there is probably a lot of copy and pasting involved. I removed some identifying info from the email:

Dear [removed],

I am referred by Dr [removed].

I read with great interest your paper on [removed].

I am doing an independent research on the current evolutionary patterns of homo sapiens. Confirmed co-authors for this research paper are [removed].

I have just received the raw FASTQ data of the WGS of a certain individual with a novel phenotype. The data might show some pieces of unknown sequences and they cannot be found in any database. The variance is not SNP-based and not seen before in the human populations sequenced to date.

I have asked a friend to do some additional analysis. I was told it is mostly mitochondrial reads ( the DNA is from a human hair sample). They are in a Dropbox I am going to send to you. See if you can detect any known or unusual variations/insertion/deletions. They are snpeff, vcf format, chimeric and fusion reports.

Are you able to do the analysis for me? I think it will only take about a couple of hours.

Sincerely, Elgin Ong CEO, BioBase [removed contact info] www.biobase.webs.com BioBase is registered in Singapore, number 53332422W

ADD COMMENTlink written 3.5 years ago by Jared Evans80
1

Definitely scammish. The BioBase website purports to to offer sequencing services, but the description of said services is essentially content-free. And the website paragraph about NGS is copied verbatim from this publication. Crowd-source funding efforts do not seem particularly successful ($0 pledged to date). At best, a virtual operation that's trolling for s̶u̶c̶k̶e̶r̶s̶ volunteers to perform the analysis so they have a "product" to tout.

ADD REPLYlink written 3.5 years ago by harold.smith.tarheel4.5k
1

Thank you for sharing this information, this post is now closed. I will inform some folks at BioBase as well.

ADD REPLYlink written 3.5 years ago by Khader Shameer18k

What a weird story - now that I searched my email I found a similar email from June 30th from the same sender - I usually delete these right away.

My theory is that this company that he leads actually landed a client but they don't actually have anyone to do the analysis hence the increasingly wide net and searching for someone.

ADD REPLYlink modified 3.5 years ago • written 3.5 years ago by Istvan Albert ♦♦ 83k

I'm far more cynical than you, Istvan. Perhaps you're right - but what type of company offers bioinformatics service to a client without first getting a commitment from someone to do the analysis?

The website states that BioBase offers sequencing service. But the OP said they outsource the sequencing, and now he's trying to outsource the analysis. So what exactly does BioBase provide?

ADD REPLYlink written 3.5 years ago by harold.smith.tarheel4.5k

It's definitely strange. I'm probably leaning more towards a scam due to all of the red flags. I don't know if they are trying to spread a virus/malware either because they never sent a link to the Dropbox account.

In the email I received they listed four names as "confirmed co-authors" but after googling all of them I couldn't find any relevant academic profiles. I removed their names just in case they are victims of the scam.

ADD REPLYlink written 3.5 years ago by Jared Evans80
2
gravatar for Michael Dondrup
3.6 years ago by
Bergen, Norway
Michael Dondrup47k wrote:

Hi Elgin,

This sounds a little mysterious to me, was that intentional? I am guessing that this is some kind of personal genomics approach. Most humans probably have few novel insertions in their genomes somewhere, as well as rearrangements, CSVs etc. One way to analyse your data is to map all reads to the reference and then to work with the remainder, assemble them, and discard contamination, that is where Blasting against other organism comes in. For assembling you preferentially have paired-end data (which you seemingly do, according to the link you provided) and longer reads. You should be able to do a lot of this as a workflow in Galaxy. If you want to have reliable results, you need to use conservative settings for QC, quality and adapter trimming, and contaminant removal (viral, bacterial, and other non-human sequences). If you tell us which step you need help with in particular, we might be able to give further directions.

ADD COMMENTlink modified 3.6 years ago • written 3.6 years ago by Michael Dondrup47k

Dear Michael,

I have asked a friend to do some additional analysis. They are in a Dropbox. See if you can detect any known or unusual variations/insertion/deletions. I think it will only take a couple of hours. They are snpeff, vcf format, chimeric and fusion reports. Can I send you the Dropbox?

Elgin

ADD REPLYlink modified 3.6 years ago • written 3.6 years ago by elginong120
3

I have no interest to open any files from a random guy on the internet.

ADD REPLYlink written 3.5 years ago by Michael Dondrup47k
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