Since The Institute for Genomic Research first decoded the complete genetic material of a free-living organism (Haemophilus influenzae) in 1995,1 we have seen an explosion in the number of completed genomes. The total completed genome count is about 150, a number that is likely to double in 2004.

Next year, we will experience a greater shift in genomics, from simply obtaining the genetic code of organisms to comparing and interpreting them, eventually understanding how the four-letter (ACGT) code leads to such diversity of life.

Mathematical, computational, and strategic advances, as well as new analytical instruments, have completely revolutionized genomics; more than 1,000 sequenced genomes should be finished by the end of 2005. These same tools are now being used to characterize and understand the environment. As a result, a new discipline is emerging: "environmental genomics." Through The Institute for Biological Energy Alternatives, we are expanding the environmental...

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