October 28, 2005

Genome project links illness and ethnicity

Interesting article in the Globe about a 3-year project that Canadians had a part in:
Using the DNA of 269 people from China, Japan, Nigeria and the U.S., the project has essentially compiled a new map of the human genome.

This one organizes the book of life encoded in human DNA into paragraphs -- known as haplotypes -- that make it exponentially easier to spot genetic mutations.

It also sheds new light on how humans evolved in different parts of the world.

For example, the Hap Map has discovered nearly four million mutations and of those, roughly 100 appear in extreme frequency in one group more than another, such as with the lactase gene type of Europeans that allows the lifetime digestion of dairy products, and the mutation that protects sub-Saharan Africans from malaria.


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