Many human genes are similar to other animals' genes – even the fruit fly's. So, animal studies can sometimes give scientists clues about what human genes do. For example, in 1994, scientists identified the human gene that causes an inherited form of deafness, after finding the equivalent gene in mice. Likewise, genes that determine life span in roundworms may help explain human ageing. And human counterparts of yeast growth control genes are involved in some human cancers.
Are you related to a fly?
Why are scientists studying bacterial DNA?
Researchers are studying the genes of harmful bacteria in order to help them design new antibiotics: medicines that kill bacteria. Bacterial genes can also help explain how our own genes work. Compared to the human genome, the genomes for bacteria are tiny: just a couple of million base pairs long. Scientists have sequenced many bacterial genomes, starting with the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae in 1995.