On Thursday March 23, 2000, a historic milestone was marked as researchers announced they have completed mapping the genome of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. The achievement, which was announced in a special issue of the journal Science, culminates close to 100 years of research. Drosophila melanogaster is the most complex animal thus far to have its genetic sequence deciphered. The findings have important implications for human medical research and for completing a map of the human genome. Mapping the fruit fly genome has been a broad collaborative effort between academia and industry in several countries. While a foundation was laid by US (Berkeley), European, and Canadian Drosophila Genome Projects, Celera Genomic finished the job over the last year by employing super-computers and state-of-the-art gene-sequencing machines. The techniques learned and used in this last phase of mapping may now be applied to more rapidly decode genes of other organisms, including humans. This week's In The News takes a closer look at this important landmark.
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