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So Many Creatures, So Little Time

Even with the cost of genome sequencing coming down, Smithsonian magazine writes that not every organism on Earth can yet expect to have its genome sequenced.

Instead, it adds, researchers have to select the lucky few. While Smithsonian notes there aren't set standards to make this decision, researchers tend to choose medically important organisms for sequencing or organisms whose genomes could throw light on scientists' understanding of the past world. For instance, it says researchers sequenced the temple pit viper genome because it produces a protein that could be developed as a muscle relaxant, while others have sequenced the genomes of cows and pigs to better understand domestication and how the animals' genomes changed with domestication.

Being cute and fuzzy probably helps, too. Smithsonian magazine adds that researchers in Canada recently announced the genome sequence of the beaver — Canada's national symbol — just in time for the nation's 150th anniversary.

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