Comparative Biology Joins the Molecular Age

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Science  07 Jun 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5574, pp. 1792-1795
DOI: 10.1126/science.296.5574.1792

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The genome sequences of the "model" organisms targeted by the Human Genome Project can't explain many mysteries of development, and they provide few clues about evolution or the complement of genes necessary for each class of organism. To answer such questions, researchers are sequencing the genomes of organisms ever farther down the tree of life. As evidenced by the talks given at an evo-devo meeting in April, which tapped everything from jellyfish and the flatworm planaria to coelacanths, a living fossil fish, this has given rise to a new form of comparative biology--this time with a molecular spin.