US and worms

Published: Sunday 31 January 1999

the first time the us and the uk scientists have mapped the entire gene pattern of an animal, a tiny worm. This achievement is providing clues to human health problems such as cancer, ageing and Alzheimer's disease. "This worm is really an animal just as we are. It has muscles and many different kinds of cells. And it also ages like us, and by and large, it uses same genes that we do," said Robert H Waterston, leader of the team from Washington University, usa, that joined with the British scientists to find the worm's genes. Experts have called this as an important achievement in the effort to map the human gene structure.

The worm, a type of nematode called Caenorhabditis Elagans, is as common as dirt and a handful of garden soil would contain thousands of these.

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