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Genomics: sequencing all the animals
Genome sequencing is getting faster, more accurate, and cheaper. Scientists are taking advantage of the technological advances to assemble the genomes of existing model organisms and then some. From animal-by-animal projects to ambitious endeavors like the Vertebrate Genome Project that hopes to sequence all vertebrates, there are a lot of new animal genomes on the horizon.
With genomes in hand, researchers can ask what makes each animal unique, and whether their attributes, like the regenerative capacity of the axolotl, the social behaviors of canines or birds, or the cancer resistance observed in bats, could shed new light on human health and disease. Though there are still technical challenges to sequencing an animal’s genome from scratch, there is also the potential to make a lot more animals amenable to the lab.
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