One easy way to spot who reviewed a paper is to observe who is writing a News and Views afterwards.
So for example, Nick Navin just published a paper in Nature Genetics describing “Punctuated copy number evolution and clonal stasis in triple-negative breast cancer” and, looky-look, someone wrote a News and Views about it.
And given that only a single reviewer hectored them about the details of a 40 year old paper on punctuated equilibria (in the last round of revision! when everyone else said It’s fine!), the authors might now even have reasons to suspect who was evil reviewer 3.
Apparently, this link http://rdcu.be/kBso let’s you see the News and Views without a subscription.
I discussed Nick Navin’s paper with several people while writing this piece, but Nat Gen is not allowing acknowledgments in News and Views. So let me just use this space here to acknowledge input by Peter van Loo, Andrea Sottoriva, Geoff Macintyre, Edith Ross and the rest of my team.
They all had very interesting things to say, but in the end I had to condense all of it, including my own ideas, into 900 words (well, more like 1000 in this case).
A recurrent piece of feedback on early drafts was that no-one knew what ‘saltationist’ meant. Well, I always answered smugly, let Wiki be your friend. (Because that’s where I look up smart and long words.)
One idea I am touching on in the article, but don’t discuss in great depth, is the fact that classical evolutionary theories (like crisis and stasis in Eldredge and Gould’s theory of punctuated equilibria) is about phenotypes, while in Gao et al (and previous papers on chromothripsis and chromoplexy) these concepts are applied to genomes.
I do understand how a phenotype can be stable over time, even though there are ongoing mutations (either neutral or with very small fitness effect), but I find it much harder to understand how the genomes of the clones can be stable – who tells the genomes to stop getting messed up? It’s cancer after all … genome instability is one of the things it’s really good at.
Any ideas anyone?