Saturday, June 19, 2010

Next time you eat a grape...

Well, the mini blog-break is over. But in the mean time I did discover that we have to show a bit more respect towards grapes (and don't panic if you hear a grape talking back at you). Here is the current estimate of genes, and it seems that we humans are somewhere between a grape and a chicken:


Figure: Gene counts in a variety of species. Viruses, the simplest living entities, have only a handful of genes but are exquisitely well adapted to their environments. Bacteria such as Escherichia coli have a few thousand genes, and multicellular plants and animals have two to ten times more. Beyond these simple divisions, the number of genes in a species bears little relation to its size or to intuitive measures of complexity. The chicken and grape gene counts shown here are based on draft genomes [50,51] and may be revised substantially in the future. 

But it is reassuring that our dominion over chickens extends into the genome. Read the full paper here. And while talking about chickens, check out this story of Mike the headless chicken from Barbara King's blog (also see here for the full story).

3 comments:

Don said...

Score yet another point for the majesty of viniculture. Grapes may have it over us genetically, *but we control their breeding*.

Salman Hameed said...

Grapes may have it over us genetically, *but we control their breeding*.

Or so we think we have control...

Mohammed Yahia said...

Wow my respect for grapes just rose several clicks!

Maybe we are being unknowingly controlled by grapes all along - pretty much like the mice in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" :)