Determining the sequence of building blocks of entire genomes – aka genomics – first came to public attention in the 1990s, with the race to decode the first human genomes. Today, smartphones can carry our personal genome sequences.
Genomics applies to all species, revealing evolution in action, because we all use the same genetic code – that is, the correspondence between DNA sequences and the amino acid sequences of proteins. Many popular uses of "genetic code" actually mean "genome sequence."
Analysis of environmental DNA (eDNA) catalogs the DNA in specific places, from microorganisms inhabiting a human armpit to vast ecosystems. Several recent DNA Science posts describe eDNA:
A Glimpse of The Ocean's "Twilight Zone" Through Environmental DNA
A 2-million-year-old Ecosystem in the Throes of Climate Change Revealed in Environmental DNA
DNA in Strange Places: Hippo Poop, Zoo Air and Cave Dirt
Microbiome Analysis of Ancient Feces
Genome sequencing was critical from the start of COVID, as the first SARS-CoV-2 sequences were posted for researchers just days after initial case reports. That information led, thanks to vaccine shelved from the first SARS circa 2003, to the rapid development and deployment of mRNA vaccines against the new infectious disease.
To continue reading, go to DNA Science, where this post first appeared.