UCI biologists Robert Steele and Hans Bode, along with nine other UCI scientists and an international team of researchers, have sequenced the genome of Hydra, a freshwater polyp that has been a staple of biological research for 300 years and integral to understanding regeneration, stem cells and patterning. The team discovered Hydra to have about the same number of genes as humans, sharing many of the same ones. They also found genes linked with Huntington’s disease and with the beta-amyloid plaque formation seen in Alzheimer’s disease, suggesting the possible use of Hydra as a research model for these two diseases. The Hydra project is the first genome sequencing effort in which UCI scientists have played a major role. The study appears in Nature.