Thousands of genes are being discovered for the first time by sequencing the genomes of model organisms, an exhilarating reminder that much of the natural world remains to be explored at the molecular level. DNA microarrays provide a natural vehicle for this exploration. The model organisms are the first for which comprehensive genome-wide surveys of gene expression patterns or function are possible. The results can be viewed as maps that reflect the order and logic of the genetic program, rather than the physical order of genes on chromosomes. Exploration of the genome using DNA microarrays and other genome-scale technologies should narrow the gap in our knowledge of gene function and molecular biology between the currently-favoured model organisms and other species.