Physical and genetic maps of the genome provide complimentary tools for understanding genetic variation and for linkage analysis. The first genetic map of the human genome was generated 15 years ago. In an Advanced Online Publication in Nature Genetics, Augustine Kong and colleagues at deCODE genetics in Iceland present the latest genetic map, which has about five times better resolution than existing maps (Nat Genet 2002, DOI:10.1038/ng917).

Kong et al. genotyped over 5,000 microsatellite markers for 146 Icelandic families, representing 1,257 meiotic events. The best previous map contained only 188 genes. Comparison of physical and genetic maps allowed resolution of discrepancies and deficiencies. The construction of the genetic map benefited from the draft genome sequence when genetic data were sparse. Conversely, the genetic map helps to validate and improve the sequence assembly.

Analysis of both maps allowed calculation of recombination rates. The average recombination rates of the...

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