Comparison of the genomes and proteomes of the two diptera Anopheles gambiae and Drosophila melanogaster, which diverged about 250 million years ago, reveals considerable similarities. However, numerous differences are also observed; some of these must reflect the selection and subsequent adaptation associated with different ecologies and life strategies. Almost half of the genes in both genomes are interpreted as orthologs and show an average sequence identity of about 56%, which is slightly lower than that observed between the orthologs of the pufferfish and human (diverged about 450 million years ago). This indicates that these two insects diverged considerably faster than vertebrates. Aligned sequences reveal that orthologous genes have retained only half of their intron/exon structure, indicating that intron gains or losses have occurred at a rate of about one per gene per 125 million years. Chromosomal arms exhibit significant remnants of homology between the two species, although only 34% of the genes colocalize in small "microsyntenic" clusters, and major interarm transfers as well as intra-arm shuffling of gene order are detected.