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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Stuck Between A Chicken and A Grape. Human Genome Project.

Since we discovered the genetic code, scientists have been trying to figure out the number of genes in a human genome.

Initially Vogel in 1964 estimated that there are 6.7 million genes, which were supposed to be pretty high but it was assumed to be right. Even Vogel found this number to be “disturbingly high”. National Institute of Health report in 1990 estimated that the total number is around 100,000.

Later that was dismissed too. I came across a very informative review published by Mihaela Pertea and Steven Salzberg at Genome Biology. Due to our better understanding of the genome and automated DNA sequencing we can have a better estimate of the number of human genes. Also as now we have an improved definition of genome itself, this has drastically decreased the total number of genes in human genome.

Here is an estimate of genes.

Grape  30,343
Human 22,333
Chicken 16,736
Fruit Fly 14,889after
Influenza 11

So with all our might, wisdom and resources, we are slightly better than a chicken but worse than a grape.

About The Picture: I don't know why, but there were just too many chicken in Kauai.

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