Human Genome project leaves much of human variation unsampled

was widely cited. These conclusions, while valid, cannot be deduced from the Celera data. "A scientifically more viable strategy would be to examine many more sub-Saharan Africans than non-Africans," writes Disotell, "because sub-Saharan African populations can be expected to represent the majority of all human variation." In addition, Disotell suggests that rather than sampling individuals from a mixed population such as the USA where household data surveys show that about 20% of the population have close relatives from a racial group different from their own samples should be gathered from the regions themselves. The genomes of the African-American population, for instance, have a distinct European influence comprising about 7% of the gene pool in Jamaica and as high as 26% of the African-American gene pool in some North American cities.

A controversial project to survey human genetic diversity, the Human Genome Diversity Project, has been proposed in order to represent worldwide genetic diversity. The proposal, still being modified to take into account ethical and legal concerns, would collect together samples from a wide range of populations from throughout the world thought best to represent human diversity and would take into account our evolutionary history and known patterns of variation among current human populations. "A human diversity project has been made far more tractable by the work laid by Celera and the publicly funded Human Genome Organisations impressive accomplishments, not only in sequencing the human genome but also in beginning to use it as a map to discover the full extent of human genetic diversity," writes Disotell.


Contact: John Peel
BioMed Central

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