I spend a lot of time looking at these little bugs, and you’ve probably seen them too! They are commonly known as the water flea due to their rather erratic swimming movements that look like a flea jumping. This is a discover magazine post all about the genome project and how strange these organisms really are. Although I was not personally part of the project, my advisor was second author. They were found to have more genes than humans do, which is pretty freaking cool! Daphnia live in almost all bodies of water, but the one that was sequenced is a temporary pond dweller. I look at how their genes interact with their environment to produce a cool new trait, but that’s not the only use for them. They are used by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to determine toxic levels of substances in water. So take a look at these super cool organisms!