In under a year, less time than it takes to train a Japanese chef to safely prepare the potentially deadly seafood, an international research team has almost fully deciphered the unusually compact genetic code of the puffer fish Fugu rubripes. The effort of that team, and of a French-American collaboration that has unraveled the genome of another puffer fish, won't make eating the delicacy any less risky, but it could help scientists identify human genes and the DNA sequences that govern their activity.
"This is the next major step in the human genome project," says Trevor Hawkins, director of the Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute in Walnut Creek, Calif., who helped unveil the F. rubripes genome at a meeting in San Diego last week.
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