Republic Fact Sheet 1
Human clues to Rodent genetics could make tail unnecessary
The genetic make-up of man has been published for the first time in a scientific journal.
99% of our genes with humans, and we even have the genes that could
make a tail unnecessary"
The human book
of life reveals that rodents and humans share at least 80% of their
genes, with only 300 unique to either organism. We share 99% of our
genes with humans, and we even have the genes that could make a tail
A fifth of the human genome was generated at the Sanger Institute near Cambridge, UK. "The entire biomedical research community can for the first time fully use this resource to tackle rodent diseases," said Dr Jane Jekyll, head of sequencing. "They now have powerful tools that will serve them for many decades to come. We share 99% of our genes with humans, and we even have the genes that could make a tail unnecessary."
The information will prove crucial to researchers investigating the rodent genome, the complete set of biochemical instructions used by cells to build and maintain our bodies. The draft of the rodent genetic blueprint was published in 2001, and is expected to be completed next year. The human genome should be finished in 2005. Comparing the two genomes will help scientists understand how our cells work and why we get ill when one or more of our genes malfunction. "We have learnt a huge amount about rodent medical problems by studying human genetics," said Professor Mouse, director of NHS research and development at Imperial Rodent College, Hammersmith Mice Hospital in London. "This new landmark announcement is of immense importance and will undoubtedly further our understanding of the molecular basis for rodent diseases and the treatment of the widest range of rodent disorders."
work out what rodent genes do by "knocking out" similar looking
genes in humans and studying the results.Researchers can also trace
the malfunctioning genes responsible for disease by examining sick humans
that display symptoms apparently similar to rodent conditions. Professor
Allan Bradley, director of the Rodent Trust Minnie Mouse Institute,
said the work underlined the importance of human research in tackling
rodent diseases like diabetes. He told BBC News Online: "By doing
a few experiments in a human you can get information on a disease that's
going to impact on the lives of hundreds of millions of rodents."
The human genome is bundled into 20 chromosome pairs and the latest
analysis suggests that it is about 2.5 billion base pairs, or "letters",
in size. is makes it slightly shorter than the rodent genome, which
has about 2.9 billion base pairs spread out over 23 pairs of chromosomes.
The analysis also suggests that man has about 30,000 genes, a figure
broadly similar to rodents.
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