Comparative Genomics Basic and Applied Research
by James Brown
Edition: 1st., 2008
Since beginning my career in pharmaceutical research and development over 10 years ago, I have seen a remarkable acceleration in the merger of basic and applied genomic research. The pharmaceutical industry, and indeed much of the academic biomedical research community, initially viewed comparative genomics as a limited venture confined to the “holy trinity species” of medical research: mouse, rat, and human. Of course, an exception has always been infectious diseases, for which comparative genomics plays a vital role in understanding viral, bacterial, and parasitic pathogens — although the importance of looking at nonpathogenic, evolutionary immediate species was often a tough sell. However, that view is changing. Through rigorous comparative analysis, the genomes of cold-blooded vertebrate, avian, and other mammalian species are providing new understandings of the human genome.
Moreover, genomic sequences are becoming available for several species that are important for drug research, such as dogs and primates, as well as more specialized applications such as bovine models for osteoarthritis and zebrafish as a model for a variety of developmental and neurological conditions.