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Genetics. 2011 Nov;189(3):695-704. doi: 10.1534/genetics.111.130765.

Yeast: an experimental organism for 21st Century biology.

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Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544, USA.


In this essay, we revisit the status of yeast as a model system for biology. We first summarize important contributions of yeast to eukaryotic biology that we anticipated in 1988 in our first article on the subject. We then describe transformative developments that we did not anticipate, most of which followed the publication of the complete genomic sequence of Saccharomyces cerevisiae in 1996. In the intervening 23 years it appears to us that yeast has graduated from a position as the premier model for eukaryotic cell biology to become the pioneer organism that has facilitated the establishment of the entirely new fields of study called "functional genomics" and "systems biology." These new fields look beyond the functions of individual genes and proteins, focusing on how these interact and work together to determine the properties of living cells and organisms.

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