The Genomic Revolution

The recent decoding of the cow genome follows in a series of cracked genomes. We now hold a growing number of keys to the complicated nucleotide patterns that make up life on Earth. Here are some of the most significant. Mouse over the illustrations to learn more about each project.

Illustration by Tyler Lang | Sources: Genomes OnLine Database v 2.0 (GOLD), Genome News Network (GNN)

July 28, 1995

H. flu (Haemophilus influenzae)
The first free-living organism to have its complete genome sequenced, this bacterium can cause meningitis in children.

October 25, 1996

Baker's yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae)
This yeast is studied in labs around the world as a model organism for living systems.

September 5, 1997

E. coli (Escherichia coli)
Originally proposed to be the first candidate for whole-genome sequencing, this bacterium becomes the seventh organism to be completely sequenced.

March 24, 2000

Fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster)
Many of the fruit fly's cellular and developmental processes are similar to those of more complex organisms such as humans.

March 24, 2000

Thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana)
The first plant genome is sequenced to learn more about how to grow plants in adverse environments.

February 15, 2001, February 16, 2001

Human (Homo sapiens)
Two independent research teams publish the first drafts of the complete human genome in the span of 24 hours.

July 25, 2002

Japanese pufferfish (Fugu rubripes)
This is the first vertebrate genome sequenced since the human. Comparing the human and pufferfish genomes provides insight into the function of each.

October 4, 2002

Malaria mosquito (Anopheles gambiae)
The mosquito is a major carrier of malaria, which kills more than 1 million people annually.

December 5, 2002

House mouse (Mus musculus)
The first time the human genome has been compared to that of another mammal.

December 13, 2002

Sea squirt (Ciona intestinalis)
Scientists sequence the sea squirt genome with the hope of learning more about the origins of chordates and vertebrates.

September 26, 2003

Standard poodle (Canis familiaris)
Dogs share with humans many diseases such as cancer and epilepsy.

April 1, 2004

Brown Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus)
Comparison of the rat, mouse, and human genomes provides insight into mammalian evolution.

April 8, 2004

Red algae (Cyanidioschyzon merolae)
First complete algae genome provides information on the genetics of more complex photosynthetic organisms.

December 9, 2004

Chicken (Gallus gallus)
A modern descendant of the dinosaur, the chicken genome is used to study vertebrate evolution.

September 1, 2005

Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes)
Comparison of chimpanzee genome to the human genome reveals many of the genetic differences that have accumulated since the divergence of the two species from a common ancestor.

September 15, 2006

Black cottonwood tree (Populus trichocarpa)
The first tree genome is sequenced partially in an effort to learn more about developing biofuels.

October 26, 2006

Honeybee (Apis mellifera)
The bee is considered a model organism for studying social behavior.

May 10, 2007

Opossum (Monodelphis domestica)
The first sequenced marsupial genome sheds light on sections of the human genome that do not code for proteins.

April 24, 2009

Cow (Bos taurus)
The first cattle genome is sequenced in part with the hopes of learning how to improve milk and meat production.

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