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Studies on human genome variation provide insight into disease

The International HapMap Project was initiated with the primary goal of facilitating medical studies and understanding the genomic basis for human diseases. To coordinate with the journal Nature's publication describing the HapMap, the journal Genome Research is announcing a special issue entitled "Human Genome Variation," which is entirely devoted to studies using these data to provide insight into human biology and disease.

Predicting pregnancy success

Successful human reproduction and the maintenance of early pregnancy are dependent on a cluster of genes on chromosome 19 called the Luteinizing Hormone/Chorionic Gonadotropin Beta (LHB/CGB). During primate evolution, this cluster actively underwent numerous gene duplications and structural rearrangements, allowing the associated genes to acquire new biological functions.

In this month's issue of Genome Research, Dr. Maris Laan and her colleagues report their analysis of the LHB/CGB cluster in three human populations: European Estonians, African Mandenka, and Chinese Han. They demonstrate how gene conversion was critical for shaping the genetic diversity of this region in humans.

"This study paves the way for examining an individual's potential reproductive success based on sequence variants of the LHB/CGB genes," explains Laan. "We may be able to determine whether an individual is particularly susceptible to spontaneous abortions or reduced gonadal function, for example."

Contact:
Maris Laan, Ph.D.
Research Professor, University of Tartu, Estonia
Phone: +372-53495258
E-mail: maris@ebc.ee

X-ing out hereditary prostate cancer

According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, one of every six American men develops prostate cancer, making it the most common form of non-skin cancer. Growing evidence suggests that there
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Contact: Maria A. Smit
smit@cshl.edu
516-422-4013
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
26-Oct-2005


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