In addition to sequencing the 3 billion letters in the human genetic instruction book, researchers involved in the Human Genome Project have already sequenced the genomes of a number of important model organisms that are commonly used as surrogates in studying human biology. These are the mouse, the rat, two puffer fish, two fruit flies, two sea squirts, two roundworms, baker's yeast and the bacterium Escherichia coli.
Currently, NHGRI-supported sequencing centers are close to completing working drafts of the genomes of additional organisms that improve the understanding of genomes that have already been sequenced and provide insights into the evolution of humans. The genome sequences of the chimpanzee, the chicken, the sea urchin, the honeybee and a set of four fungi are nearly in draft form. The sequence of the domestic dog, which is a major model for studying genetic diseases and developing pharmaceuticals, is also approaching deep draft coverage. This summer, the centers also began initial sequence production for creating a reference version of the genome of the rhesus macaque, which is a monkey that is widely used in studies of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.
Other organisms currently on NHGRI's high-priority list for sequencing are: the cow; the South American gray, short-tailed opossum (a marsupial); the red flour beetle; the acor
Contact: Geoff Spencer
NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute