News of the WeekThe Biology of Genomes, 5–9 May 2009, Cold Spring Harbor, New York

Water Flea Boasts Whopper Gene Count

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Science  05 Jun 2009:
Vol. 324, Issue 5932, pp. 1252
DOI: 10.1126/science.324_1252a

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Packed into a body no bigger than the letters on this page is a whale of a genome. The body belongs to Daphnia pulex, a crustacean common in lakes and ponds around the world. At first glance, the genome seemed to have about 25,000 genes—a lot, but no record-breaker. Eventually, however, gene-finding programs found 31,000, and a variety of experiments have revealed as many as 8000 more genes that gene-finding annotation programs missed, scientists reported at the Biology of Genomes meeting, held 5 to 9 May at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. That tops the gene count of the newly sequenced genome of another tiny creature: the pea aphid, which sports 34,600 genes (see p. 1253).