Animal Rights

1000 Genomes Project

| by Dr Ray Greek

A press release from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard titled 1000 Genomes Project publishes analysis of completed pilot phase:

Small genetic differences between individuals help explain why some people have a higher risk than others for developing illnesses such as diabetes or cancer. Today in the journal Nature, the 1000 Genomes Project, an international public-private consortium, published the most comprehensive map of these genetic differences, called variations, estimated to contain approximately 95 percent of the genetic variation of any person on Earth . . .

The resulting map of human genetic variation includes about 15 million SNPs, 1 million short insertion/deletion changes, and more than 20,000 structural variations. Many of the genetic variants had previously been identified, but more than half were new. The project's database contains more than 95 percent of the currently measurable variants found in any individual, and continuing work will eventually identify more than 99 percent of human variants . . .

The improved map produced some surprises. For example, the researchers discovered that on average, each person carries between 250 and 300 genetic changes that would cause a gene to stop working normally, and that each person also carried between 50 and 100 genetic variations that had previously been associated with an inherited disease. No human carries a perfect set of genes. Fortunately, because each person carries at least two copies of every gene, individuals likely remain healthy, even while carrying these defective genes, if the second copy works normally. In addition to looking at variants that are shared between many people, the researchers also investigated in detail the genomes of six people: two mother-father-daughter nuclear families. By finding new variants present in the daughter but not the parents, the team was able to observe the precise rate of mutations in humans, showing that each person has approximately 60 new mutations that are not in either parent.

See current issue of Nature for more.

This is important research and once again explains why individual humans do not respond the same to drugs and disease. Einstein said: "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results." Continuing to think a completely different species will accomplish what members of the same species cannot is insanity.