"Roughly 200 years after being tamed, bred and adopted as science's favourite laboratory animal, the brown Norway rat has had its genome sequenced. It is only the third mammal after humans and mice to have its genetic plan read."
"Comparisons between the genomes is also yielding tantalising insights into how each species evolved. The analysis has already shown, for example, that rats have been evolving faster than both humans and mice. "We find that rodent evolution is an order of magnitude faster than in humans," says Richard Gibbs of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and head of the sequencing effort."
Wired News Let Us Praise the Lowly Rat
""Sequencing the rat genome represents much more than an odometer moment," said Francis Collins, director of the Human Genome Research Institute, during a press conference on Wednesday in Washington, D.C. "It gives the opportunity for triangular comparison -- three is vastly better than two.""
"Studies on the rat genome have already led to significant discoveries, said Howard Jacob, a senior author on the paper and researcher at the Medical College of Wisconsin. For example, scientists had been unable to find the gene that caused polycystic kidney disease by using patient samples. Researchers mapped a region of the rat's genome where they suspected the gene was located and noticed the same sequence of letters (A, C, T and G, which represent the nucleotides that make up all DNA: adenine, cytosine, thymine and guanine). By lining up these two sections of DNA, they were able to pinpoint the human gene responsible for polycystic kidney disease."
“Bioinformatics will be at the core of biology in the 21st century. In fields ranging from structural biology to genomics to biomedical imaging, ready access to data and analytical tools are fundamentally changing the way investigators in the life sciences conduct research and approach problems. Complex, computationally intensive biological problems are now being addressed and promise to significantly advance our understanding of biology and medicine. No biological discipline will be unaffected by these technological breakthroughs.”BIOINFORMATICS IN THE 21st CENTURY
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