Rattus norvegicus is an important experimental organism and interesting to evolutionary biologists. The recently published draft rat genome sequence provides us with insights into both the rat's evolution and its physiology. We learn more about genome evolution and, in particular, the adaptive significance of gene family expansions and the evolution of rodent genomes, which appears to have decelerated since the divergence of mouse and rat. An important observation is that some regions of genomes, many in noncoding regions, show very high sequence conservation, while others show unexpectedly fast evolution. Both of these may be pointers to functional significance.