The Broad Institute is home to the DNAtrium, a museum of interactive exhibits showcasing the fascinating world of genomic research, new scientific instruments and the researchers who are driving forward progress in biology and medicine.
The most recently added exhibit is a 17-foot wide mobile that wistfully floats 15-feet above DNAtrium visitors. The mobile displays the evolutionary relationship between 30 mammalian organisms that have their genomes sequenced to at least 2X coverage –meaning that each DNA base pair in the animal’s genome was sequenced twice.
The lab rat (also known as the Brown Norwegian Rat or Rattus norvegicus) is one of the animals included on the phylogeneic mobile (see photo). While many people’s impression of rats are synonymous with that of disease carrying vermin, this species’ use as a model of human disease serves the biomedical community well, making it a favorite among some researchers. With the completion of the rat genome in 2004, the lab rat became the third mammalian species sequenced, bolstering its approval rating in the scientific and public realms alike.