A team of researchers from British and Canadian universities and research institutes has succeeded in mapping 98 per cent of the mouse genome. The publicly funded research will be crucial for researchers working on a map of the human genome as mice share many of the same genes as humans. Mice are often used by researchers as they can be induced to develop a large number of human diseases. Researchers are already using the mouse genome to study diabetes and cancer. Professor Steve Brown of Britain's Medical research council's Mammalian genetics unit emphasised the importance of the advances for those seeking to map the human genome. 'Together with the mouse draft sequence, it is transforming the science of mouse genetics and will enormously enhance our ability to understand the role of genes in human disease,' he said. A private company in the USA has already read the mouse genome, but the results are not available to the scientific community without payment. Scientists are hoping that this new information will make the decoding of the human genome by April 2003 a possibility.