04/11/12 8:53 AM

Sequencing: the new era of genomics

The dramatic reductions in associated costs and time to completion effectively eliminates the main factors that once restricted genome sequencing to a few model organisms
A genomic engine.

The sequencing of the human genome by the end of the 20th century was undoubtedly a great scientific milestone that opened a new phase full of promises and challenges, the era of genomics.

While 20th century genetics and molecular biology focused on the isolation and characterization of single genes, genomics seek to sequence and characterize whole genomes, entailing a qualitative leap forward towards the study of gene interactions that have been difficult to address using traditional approaches, the genetic basis of phenotypic traits and the evolutionary dynamics of genomes, among other issues.

The human genome project followed the sequencing of other simpler organisms, including single-celled microorganisms like bacteria, archea and yeasts. The research went hand in hand with other complex genomes, mainly from model organisms like the mouse, the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster), the worm nematode caenorhabditis elegans and the small flowering plant arabidopsis thaliana, among others.

Since then, the list of sequenced genomes has continued to grow exponentially. As of April 7th 2010, 1.255 genomes had been completed and released, s great majority –1.047-- correspond to bacteria, 81 to archea, and 127 to eucharia.

Of these, only 22 are from Chordata and 15 from mammals (H. sapiens (6), Pan troglodytes, Macaca mulatta, Canis familaris, Ratus norvegicus, Mus musculus, Bos taurus, Equus caballus, Monodelphis domestica, y Ornithorhynchus anatinus).

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