Genomics has brought us to the threshold of a new era in controlling infectious diseases. These studies will likely lead to the development of new disease prevention and treatment strategies for plants, animals, and humans alike. For instance, understanding pathogen genes, their expression, and their interaction will lead to new antibiotics, antiviral agents, and "designer" immunizations. These new DNA-based immunizations are by-products of genomic research and will undoubtedly eventually replace the traditional vaccines made from whole, inactivated microorganisms. This is highly relevant to domesticated animals, where viruses still kill billions of dollars worth of livestock every year.
Understanding the genomes of plants and animals has additional benefits. Gene mapping should allow us to understand the basis for disease resistance, disease susceptibility, weight gain, and determinants of nutritional value. The use of genomic information provides the opportunity to select optimal environments for the healthy growth of plants and animals, to develop disease-resistant strains, and to achieve improved nutritional value such as with the "golden" rice. Success in these species may well provide important insights needed to improve the health of humans.
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