From Microorganisms to Human DNA

For many years, genomics has been focused on microorganisms, which have relatively small genomes. However, more recently the field has been energized by the advent of more industrialized, higher-throughput sequencing technologies. By 2001 more than seventy organisms had been completely sequenced, and a working draft of the human genome had been produced. Vigorous efforts have now been initiated to map the mouse genome, and one company already claims to have completed the sequence. From the description of the structure of the genetic material by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953, it will have taken only about fifty years to determine the complete genetic codes of humans and most of the model organisms that are important in biological research.

genetic material in a cell or organism

Latin Name

Common Name

Genome Size

Eukaryotes (haploid genome)

Oryza sativa Homo sapiens Arabidopsis thaliana Drosophila melanogaster Caenorhabditis elegans Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Rice Human

Mustard cress Fruit fly Roundworm Yeast

420,000 Kb 3,200,000 Kb 115,428 Kb 137,000 Kb 97,000 Kb 12,069 Kb

Eubacteria

Haemophilus influenzae Escherichia coli Helicobacter pylori Mycobacterium Yersinia pestis

Human colon bacterium Stomach ulcer bacterium Tuberculosis Plague

1,830 Kb 4,639 Kb 1,667 Kb 4,411 Kb 4,653 Kb

Archaea

Halobacterium Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum

Salt-tolerant archaean Methane-producing archaean

2,014 Kb 1,751 Kb

Kb=one thousand base pairs

Size comparison of selected completed genomes. Most of these organisms are of economic, medical, or scientific importance.

Size comparison of selected completed genomes. Most of these organisms are of economic, medical, or scientific importance.

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