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Chapter 24 : An Accidental Microbiologist
The expressed sequence tags (ESTs) method identified more than thirty new G protein-coupled receptors; however, these sequences were also of great interest to Human Genome Sciences, Inc. (HGS) and its partner, Smith-Kline Beecham (SB). Haemophilus influenzae is of historical significance in science as well, being the source from which Ham Smith first isolated restriction endonucleases, which led to his Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1978. No complete genome sequence for a free-living organism had ever been deciphered, so we all realized that this would be a landmark achievement if it could be accomplished. Since TIGR reported the first complete microbial genome sequence in 1995, the sequences of more than twenty bacterial and archaeal species have been published, and at least sixty other genome projects are in progress in laboratories around the world. Most species cannot be cultured in the laboratory, yet these species likely play some of the most important roles in the ecology of our planet. Breakthroughs in genomics technology and bioinformatics will continue to allow us to push back the frontiers of whole genome analysis. Breakthroughs in genomics technology and bioinformatics will continue to allow us to push back the frontiers of whole genome analysis. But at the same time, new technologies for functional genomics present exciting opportunities to begin to study the dynamic nature of the microbial cell.