Whole-Genome Sequencing

Use of Whole-Genome Sequences of Model Organisms

British biochemist and Nobel Prize winner Fred Sanger used a bacterial virus, the bacteriophage fx174 (5368 base pairs), to completely sequence the first genome. Other scientists later sequenced several other organelle and viral genomes. American biotechnologist, biochemist, geneticist, and businessman Craig Venter sequenced the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae in the 1980s. Approximately 74 different laboratories collaborated on sequencing the genome of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which began in 1989 and was completed in 1996, because it was 60 times bigger than any other genome sequencing. By 1997, the genome sequences of two important model organisms were available: the bacterium Escherichia coli K12 and the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We now know the genomes of other model organisms, such as the mouse Mus musculus, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, the nematode Caenorhabditis. elegans, and humans Homo sapiens. Researchers perform extensive basic research in model organisms because they can apply the information to genetically similar organisms. A model organism is a species that researchers use as a model to understand the biological processes in other species that the model organism represents. Having entire genomes sequenced helps with the research efforts in these model organisms. The process of attaching biological information to gene sequences is genome annotation. Annotating gene sequences helps with basic experiments in molecular biology, such as designing PCR primers and RNA targets.

Link to Learning

Click through each genome sequencing step at this site.