In honor of the tenth anniversary of the human genome project, here are a couple telling images, courtesy of Mihaela Pertea and Steven L Salzberg. First: a visual history of the estimates of the number of genes in the human genome.
And second, a warning to anyone who believes in an iron law that the more protein-coding genes in a species, the more sophisticated/complex/cool/human that species is:
I for one welcome our grapey overlords. [Update: Biochemist Larry Moran takes issue with the very high numbers for early gene number estimates. Steven Salzberg defends the graph. Read it all here!]