© Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc.

New questions, methods, and philosophies are creating opportunities for novel organisms to take their places in the model organism ark. Genome sequences, transcriptome profiling data, and high-throughput technologies are providing a springboard that can propel a hitherto unfancied creature into the forefront of research. Continued progress on genome sequencing will enhance comparative evolutionary approaches. The chicken's genetic sequence, for example, could be published by year's end. Comparing chicken and human DNA will illuminate important sections of the human genome.1

The excitement emanating from the life sciences arena is attracting those from the other side. "You are seeing a lot of people coming into the field from physics, data mining, statisticians, all being drawn by the genomic scale of information," says Gad Shaulsky, Baylor College of Medicine. Herbert Levine, a physicist who studies Dictyostelium discoideum at the University of California, San Diego, says: "Even physicists...

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