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Animal biotechnology


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Veterinary medicines, animal health care

For most of the 20th century, a central problem in genetics was the creation of maps of entire chromosomes. These maps were crucial for the understanding of the structure of genes, their function and their evolution. Starting about 15 years ago, recombinant DNA technology was used to generate molecular or physical maps, defined here as the ordering of distinguishable DNA fragments by their position along the chromosome.

Nowadays, the sequences of several mammalian chromosomes were already reported as well as the entire genome of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The key issue was no longer how to sequence a genome but how to handle the sequence data. As we entered the 21st century, the list of sequenced genomes included over 60 bacteria plus those of yeast, the nematode, the fruit fly, a flowering plant and humans. Sequencing of whole genomes is progressing at a rapid rate but the emphasis is now shifting back to biological questions. For example, how do the different components of the genome and the different gene products interact? Answers to questions such as this are being provided using yet another new set of tools in combination with the established mapping and sequencing methodologies. This branch of biology is known as genomics.

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