Scientists have sequenced the genomes of five individuals from indigenous populations in southern Africa, including famed South African Bishop Desmond Tutu, revealing new genetic variation among humans that they say will advance medical genomics research, according to a study published this week in Nature.
Bushmen of southern Africa
Image: Stephan C. Schuster
"It's the first genome sequence of a minority population in Africa," said human geneticist linkurl:Sarah Tishkoff; of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, who was not involved in the research. "I'm excited to see that somebody has finally sequenced the genome of an underrepresented population." Previous research has suggested that "there's an extraordinarily high level of variation among indigenous populations in Africa," Tishkoff explained, but to date, no full sequence data were available for these groups. Thus, most of the genome-wide association studies (GWAS) that look for correlations between genetic variants and particular phenotypes or diseases...
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